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Volume 5 | No. 4 | July/August 2017


A Look Back at the 2017 NSGA Management Conference & Team Dealer Summit NSGA Washington, D.C. Lobby Day Produces Results

Everyone Deserves a Chance to Know What it is Like to “Just Ride a Bike”

2017 Editions of NSGA Research 2017 Editions of NSGA Research

Be Viewed as an Expert Among Business Partners

Don’t forget to purchase your copies of the longest standing industry studies of their kind. For more than 30 years, NSGA has provided reliable research and information to sporting goods executives. Trusted and reliable industry research for more than 30 years Have the most up-to-date information from the sporting goods industry at your fingertips Take advantage of Member Pricing and Sports Participation Bundles



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Distinction, Innovation and Adaptation

Association Now

NSGA Appoints New Board Members

Technology Now

Technology and Risk

Membership Now

Everyone Deserves a Chance to Know What it is Like to “Just Ride a Bike”


Conference Now


Advocacy Now


Insights Now


Insights Now


Locker Room Now

A Look Back at the 2017 NSGA Management Conference & Team Dealer Summit

NSGA Washington, D.C. Lobby Day Produces Results

2017 Business Relationship Survey: Viewpoints from Retailers and Team Dealers

Updated Insights into Participation/ Purchase Trends, Demographics and Cross Participation Now Available

Rules Updates You Need to Know NSGA NOW®

July/August 2017 | 3


NSGA OFFICERS Chairman of the Board David Labbe

Kittery Trading Post, Kittery, ME

Treasurer/Chairman-Elect Cathy Pryor

Hibbett Sports, Birmingham, AL

Past Chairman Randy Nill

Nill Bros. Sporting Goods, Kansas City, KS


Cleve’s Source for Sports, Nova Scotia, Canada

Pat Donnelley

Donnelley Sports, Twin Falls, ID

Rhett Johnson

Johnson-Lambe Co., Raleigh, NC

Greg Miller

Universal Athletic, Bozeman, MT

Jeff Miller

Scholastic Sports Sales, Ltd., Manlius, NY

John Oehler

Dunham’s Sports, Troy, MI

Jerry Williams

Schuylkill Valley Sports, Pottstown, PA


President & CEO

Meghan Beach

Director, Membership & Education

Katie Bruce

Director, Marketing & Communications

Dustin Dobrin

Director, Research & Information

Marty Maciaszek

Each year, NSGA holds the Management Conference & Team Dealer Summit. Many of you joined us in Scottsdale, Arizona for a few days of networking, education and recognition and we truly appreciate your participation. Whether you took away an idea to improve company culture from Robert Richman, Scott McKain’s advice to distinguish yourself from competitors or a concept sparked from a conversation with a fellow attendee, we hope you returned with something to implement in your business. For those of you who could not join us at the event, you will find recaps of speakers and picture highlights. Also, keep your eye on the NSGA Scoreboard e-newsletter for highlight videos from the event. Before the Conference and Summit, NSGA Now® gave you a look at new NSGA collaborations and programs to help your business and the industry. We will continue to search for and vet relationships to give you an edge. Upcoming magazine issues will include Tech Tips from Peters & Associates and more from the Positive Coaching Alliance. Innovation and adaptation are critical for long term success. How are businesses in the industry innovating to distinguish themselves? How do our members fill a need in the marketplace? This issue features Strauss Skates and Bicycles, an NSGA member who has used innovation to create a unique product for a deserving segment. Strauss is the go-to place in Minnesota for adaptive bicycles. Strauss employees work on and create custom bicycles for individuals with special needs. They give every child an opportunity to “just ride a bike.” In the last CEO Now, I mentioned a survey NSGA conducted among retailers and team dealers to learn more about business relationships with their manufacturers/ suppliers. Results were presented at the Management Conference & Team Dealer Summit. NSGA Research and Information Director Dustin Dobrin expands on the data gathered from the survey and identifies issues within these relationships later in this issue. If you joined us at this year’s Conference & Summit we hope you had a great experience and will share it with your colleagues. If you did not attend, we encourage you to pay special attention to the recaps of education and resources from the event included in the next few issues and join us next year!

Director, Team Dealer Division and HDA

Julie Pitts

Director, Business Development

Larry Weindruch

Best regards, Matt Carlson President & CEO

Director, Public Affairs

Dan Wiersma

Chief Financial Officer

Katie Bruce | Editor/Publisher NSGA NOW® (ISSN 1045-2087) is published bi-monthly for members of the National Sporting Goods Association, 1601 Feehanville Dr., Suite 300, Mount Prospect, IL 60056-6035; Phone: (847) 296-NSGA (6742); Fax: (847) 391-9827. Subscription price of $50 per year is included in membership fee. Non-member subscription information available from publisher. Periodical postage paid at Mount Prospect, IL 60056 and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to NSGA NOW,® 1601 Feehanville Dr., Suite 300, Mount Prospect, IL 60056-6035. © by NSGA 2017. Printed in the USA.

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NSGA Appoints Bezanson and Miller to Board of Directors Kevin Bezanson (Cleve’s Source for Sports) and Greg Miller (Universal Athletic) have been appointed to the National Sporting Goods Association Board of Directors. This announcement was made following the annual Board of Directors meeting during NSGA’s Annual Conference & Summit. Bezanson and Miller’s first three-year term began June 1.

“We are looking forward to the addition of Kevin and Greg to the NSGA Board,” said Matt Carlson, NSGA President and CEO. “They each bring with them a rich history in the sporting goods industry and have been engaged participants not only in the industry, but in NSGA.” Kevin Bezanson is the President of Cleve’s Source For Sports, a family-owned business in Canada with 18 locations in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Bezanson’s father, Eric, bought the one-store business in 1969 after working as store manager. In 1989 Kevin started in the business and has served as President for 20 years. Cleve’s is a general sporting goods store focusing on hockey, footwear and apparel, as well as other team, outdoor, winter and water sports. Cleve’s Source For Sports is part of the Sports Distributors of Canada (SDC), a 125-member, 200-plus store Canadian buying group. Bezanson follows in the footsteps of fellow SDC members Dale Donaldson and Terry Hennessey who both served terms on the NSGA board. He also served on the SDC Board of Directors, including a two-year term as Chairman in 2011 and 2012.

“I’ve attended NSGA shows in the past, and I’ve regularly attended the Management Conference and I find the experience very educational,” said Bezanson. “I’m anxious to assist in the planning of that event and the other mandates of the NSGA Board.” Greg Miller is the President of Universal Athletic, headquartered in Bozeman, Montana. Miller began his career as a retail clerk in 1984 but progressed through the company and always had his current position in mind as an end-goal. Prior to becoming President of Universal in 2015, he served as Vice President from 2007, and when former Universal President Larry Aasheim decided he would retire a plan was put in place to transition Miller into the role. Universal Athletic started in 1971 in Bozeman and has since grown to include 10 retail spaces, five wholesale/team showrooms and four distribution points. The organization operates in 12 states and has 65 team salespeople calling on schools, leagues and teams. They are uniquely positioned as a team and retail operation for maximum success. “I’m looking forward to serving on the NSGA Board of Directors,” commented Miller. “I am hoping to be a contributor to the group, and am ready to learn from this much-appreciated appointment.” Dale Donaldson, President of Mallard’s Source For Sports, reached the end of his term of service on the NSGA Board. Donaldson served for six years. Rob Summerfield of MC Sports has also ended his tenure on the NSGA Board. "Dale and Rob made great contributions to the Board and to NSGA as an organization,” Carlson said. “Their enthusiasm and participation on the Board of Directors will truly be missed.”


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Technology and Risk By Adam Gassensmith, Account Manager at Peters & Associates This article is the second in the Technology Now series from Adam Gassensmith, Account Manager at Peters & Associates. You can find his introductory article in the May/June issue of NSGA Now.

So far for NSGA I have covered technology’s usefulness in saving time, increasing productivity and uncovering problems and solutions. There is one more area that I’m going to cover at the “10,000-foot level” before we start to explore these topics in more detail: Risk. I know that my audience for this article is diverse. Some of you may have a role in technology decision-making for your organizations; other readers may have nothing to do with the technology decisions that are made. It is important to note, the topic of today’s article impacts all of you; every department and every business.

Cybercrime on the rise In the technology industry, cyberattacks have been at the forefront of everyone’s mind over the past few years. If you work in this business, it’s unavoidable — I spend 75% of my client-facing time talking about cybersecurity. Outside of the technology industry, most people are still aware of the major, consumer-impacting hacks — Target, Yahoo!, Home Depot, LinkedIn and Yahoo! (again). Those high-profile data breaches offer some lessons for everyone, but I’m going to begin by addressing a common refrain.

Why are you a target? One of the most frequent myths that I have to dispel is the belief that “my company couldn’t possibly be a target.” On its face, that argument makes sense — if you are a small retail or manufacturing business, why would hackers want to come after you? Other organizations have a higher profile and make more money — how could a small business become a target? Last week, my company hosted a seminar for a technical audience. One of our presenters was an “ethical hacker.” An “ethical hacker” is someone that has the same skillset as the “bad guys” but works on our side. You will find these people working for the government or as security consultants — they are in extremely high demand at the moment. Our hacker friend presented something that I will call “the anatomy of a hack.” Basically, he demonstrated from start to finish, how he could identify a target individual or organization and breach their technology environment. The technical details will bore you, but they boil down to this: hackers are looking for companies with the weakest security and modern hacking tools make it easy to scan a large number of companies to make that determination. A good analogy is that of a house burglar. Let’s say a burglar is deciding between three houses to break into. The first house has a dog, the lights are on, and they have an ADT Security sticker in their front window. The second house has visible security cameras and the doors and windows are locked. The last house has the lights off and the front door is unlocked — maybe even ajar. The answer is pretty clear. If the burglar can only break into one house, he’ll choose the one with the fewest security measures that could trip him up. So, ultimately, you become a target based on how easy it would be for a criminal to break in. 6 | NSGA NOW ®

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What is a criminal going to do with my data? You might still object to the idea that a criminal could gain any value from breaching your organization. After all, you don’t have a “Target-sized” database of credit card numbers or deal with financial or healthcare data. The short answer is, criminals want access to your data because it’s valuable to you. The recent spike in cyberattacks has relied on software referred to as “Ransomware.” As the name suggests, Ransomware finds all of the data that it can access inside your computer system and locks it away with a password (it’s a bit more complicated, but this is the simple version). Once the criminal has taken away access to all of your data, you will be presented with a message to pay a hefty fee or your data will be deleted within a set number of days. The value of your data is derived from the fact that you need that data to operate your business.

What is the risk? The paragraph above should reveal why cybersecurity concerns extend beyond those responsible for technology. There are real financial and productivity risks to these attacks. Among the total risks that impact the entire business: • Financial cost of paying a ransom • Productivity loss during any downtime • Reputation if customer or vendor data is compromised In addition to those risks, we are seeing more organizations scrutinize their vendor list. This may not apply to everyone in the sporting goods industry, but it’s an important thing to keep in mind. After all, in the Target breach, the hackers accessed the network through the poor security practices of the HVAC vendor. Vendors and customers need to trust how their partners treat their data.

What can you do? As with all business decisions, you will have to weigh the costs and benefits of different security measures. A security strategy doesn’t have to be expensive. Activities like keeping your computer systems updated and saving copies of valuable data offline can go a long way towards protecting your business. Of course, anti-virus and email filtering tools play a role, as well. Additionally, the security awareness of your employees can play a large factor in determining your vulnerability.

Ultimately, the security measures that you consider and adopt will depend on your business and how you measure risk. If you have specific questions on how these might apply to you or what security strategy is appropriate for your business, please contact Adam at or (630) 592-6252. NSGA NOW®

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Everyone Deserves a Chance to Know What it is Like to “Just Ride a Bike” By Marty Maciaszek, NSGA Team Dealer Director

“It’s just like riding a bike” is a phrase frequently used to describe an activity which can be done without much thought or effort. However, for kids with special needs, riding a bike can be a major challenge. The same is true for finding bikes requiring special or custom components at a reasonable cost. Strauss Skates and Bicycles, an NSGA member celebrating its 130th year in business in the Minneapolis-St. Paul suburb of Maplewood, is doing what it can to make “it’s just like riding a bike” truly an experience for everyone. Strauss has become the go-to place in Minnesota to ensure that all kids can enjoy the seemingly simple fun of riding a bike. “It’s something we really enjoy,” said Strauss owner Shaun Hastings. “What sets us apart is that we are getting these kids into trikes at a fraction of the cost as compared to what is accepted as the norm for an adaptive trike.

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“While these traditional trikes are phenomenal pieces of machinery, it is comparable to getting someone a high-end road bike for their very first bike and it just isn’t necessary. By customizing base model trikes, adaptive manager Jack “The Bike Guy” Carlson is able to stretch the dollars of various community programs and get two to three kids into new trikes instead of just one.” Hastings said some adapted bikes can run as high as $7,000 so Carlson may use parts from used bikes at Strauss to do what he can to create a custom bike at a much more affordable cost. “ Jack is a “MacGyver” of sorts,” Hastings said with a laugh of comparing Carlson to the TV show character with a knack for making things out of ordinary objects. “He would be the happiest guy if you gave him a junkyard. He wants to make something that puts a smile on a kid’s face for a price the family can afford.

“Many of these families are already facing additional economic burdens. Whether or not they have the funds, the parents of kids with special needs will go to almost any means to provide their kids with the experiences other kids get. If we do our part to help them they can achieve that.” Through some connections with the Minneapolis Developmental Adaptive Physical Education (DAPE) program, Strauss became directly involved in the Sue Lundgren Bike Day. Approximately 400 students from 26 schools participated at an area high school, according to Angie Powell, an adaptive physical education teacher and district program facilitator in the Minneapolis Public School District. Strauss brought eight bikes that kids could try. Hastings and Carlson were able to help with any mechanical problems that occurred on any of the additional trikes at the event. “For a lot of them it was the first time they have ever been on a bike and that was really cool,” Hastings said. Even more astounding is that for some it was the first time that they moved their body across any distance under their own power. “Watching the sense of freedom and empowerment in their faces is invigorating and heartwarming. It is at the core of why we do this.” “We received lots of great feedback from their work with kids and the bikes,” Powell said. “Strauss is such a valuable community partner for us to collaborate with.” “A lot of parents don’t always know the various types of bikes that are out there. Strauss was willing to bring in all different types of bikes and willing to work with parents.” Carlson is among those who gets tremendous joy from his efforts. He has helped a young girl with 8-inch legs and another girl without arms achieve their dreams of riding a bike.

Hastings said in mid-May, a child around 12 years old with cerebral palsy didn’t have the strength to operate a bike with solely his hands or legs. Carlson and the crew at Strauss developed a bike which combined the child’s upper- and lower-body strength with a hand and pedal cycle so the child could operate the bike.

Hastings said Strauss sells an average of 150 adapted bicycles a year. That side of the business really took off within the last 10 years as people hear more about Carlson’s work, passion and more affordable approach. “It started small with people asking, ‘Can you do that?’ And often, Jack could help families who had previously been told, ‘Sorry, we can’t help you’ in too many other places for whatever reason,” Hastings said. “There are a lot of interesting networks in the adaptive world and our name is increasingly coming up in conversations.” Hastings said Strauss’ involvement with adapted bikes is not viewed as a high-margin business. Strauss has found fundraising partners to help keep the costs reasonable. “This is one of the things most people don’t know about Strauss,” Hastings said. “If more people knew more would come to us for that purchase.” “This can be replicated by bike shops all over the country so the customer gets an appropriate level of service and it’s something they can continually ride. It’s actually from a bike shop rather than a medical supply company, where they can get it tuned up if they need yearly maintenance or adjustments.” This ensures that all kids can experience the ride of their life on a bike.


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The Place to See and Be Seen A Look Back at the 2017 NSGA 53rd Annual Management Conference & 19th Annual Team Dealer Summit







1 From left, Matt Domenick of SanMar and Lisa and Dan Burke of Burke's Sports Haven, Inc. accept an award for the Official NSGA Golf Tournament.


The event featured various networking opportunities including breakfast and lunch in the NSGA Innovations Arena, evening receptions and outdoor activities like the Official NSGA Golf Tournament.

NSGA develops programming based on feedback from attendees. Themes of education during the 2017 event included distinction from your competition, a changing workforce, technology tips, advocacy and more.

During the event, NSGA recognized companies making an impact on their community and also the advancement of the sporting goods industry. In addition, the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame inductees are recognized during a special dinner and induction ceremony on Tuesday evening.

David Labbe, NSGA Chairman and Senior Vice President of Finance at Kittery Trading Post addresses the audience to kick-off the event.

3 Kevin Plank, 2017 Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame inductee of Under Armour addresses the audience during the induction ceremony.


July/August 2017

Participants in the Mr. Newsome’s Neighborhood Walk get ready to brave the heat. From left: David Labbe — NSGA Chairman, Kittery Trading Post, Karen and Kevin Bezanson — Cleve’s Source for Sports, Ron Sutton — Accusplit, Florence Meehan — Dunham’s Sports, Dale Donaldson — Mallard’s Source for Sports, Mickey Newsome — NSGA Hall of Fame member, past NSGA Chairman, Hibbett Sports, Dan Pinewski — Pinewski’s Ski Shop, Inc., Debbi Page-Jacobsen and Mike Jacobsen — Formula4Media, LLC, Bruce Bohan — Fishhawk Sporting Goods, Nick Rigitano and Katie Bruce — NSGA team, Jim Chandley — Nation’s Best Sports.

Greg Baldwin — Schuylkill Valley Sports networks with Laura and Bill Gump — Swax Lax during an evening reception.

Attendees listen to a speaker during a Team Dealer Summit session.

Scott McKain speaks to Conference & Summit attendees about standing out from competition and distinction.

Larry Aasheim, 2017 Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame inductee of Universal Athletic with son Shawn Aasheim, daughter Kammi Hopstad and son Tanner Aasheim.

From left: Larry Aasheim — Universal Athletic, 2017 Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame inductee, Cathy Pryor — Hibbett Sports, Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame Chairman and Dick Harte, founder of Universal Athletic. ®


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How to Activate and Engage a New Generation of Employees By Angela Mennecke, NSGA Marketing and Communications Coordinator

There are a lot of misconceptions about millennials,” stated Michael Parrish DuDell, bestselling author of “Shark Tank Jump Start Your Business” and host/co-executive producer, “The Next Crop,” during his session “Deconstructing the Millennial Employee.” “With millennials expected to represent nearly 75 percent of the workforce by 2030, it’s important for companies to not only learn who millennials are, but why millennials are the way they are,” explained DuDell. DuDell closed out the NSGA Management Conference & Team Dealer Summit educational sessions by delivering a high-energy presentation designed to help business leaders build future-focused organizations and connect with a new generation of employees. As the millennial generation grows in the workforce and baby boomers retire, DuDell explains that managers and human resources professionals will need to develop new engagement models considering the generational differences between baby boomers and millennials.

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Meet the Millennial

• Born between 1982–1996 Today they are between 21–35 years old • The largest generation in history Millennials make up more than 50% of workers • Represent the majority of U.S. workforce Millennials make up more than 50% of workers • Most educated and underemployed 44% of minimum-wage workers over age 20 have degrees • More debt than any other generation By age 30, the average Millennial carries $36,000 of debt • Delay traditional milestones, such as marriage and home ownership The average age of marriage for women is now 27

Understanding the Struggles of the Millennial Employee DuDell explained that three things happened around the same time in the 1990’s to create the perfect storm for millennials: the proliferation of technology, a booming US economy and the rise of the helicopter parents. “Millennials had too much,” said DuDell. “Too much access to information, too much access to communication and too much access to technology. With that, it changed the way we thought life was supposed to be and it created new struggles in life that we’ve never had before.”

“If you’re going to be good leaders, good managers, if you’re going to run good businesses, it’s imperative to understand the struggles that your employees face.”

The Work Revolution This generation of young workers may have grown up in a digital world amid uncertainty and a shower of parental attention. But ultimately, DuDell says they want the same thing that every employee wants: schedule control, meaningful work relationships and choice of projects and learning opportunities. In focusing on the needs of the next generation, companies must create a better place to work for everyone. Who are millennials as employees? • Practice an altruistic approach to business. Millennials believe business is used as a social tool to do good.

According to DuDell, these are the top struggles millennials face today: 1. The paradox of choice. To millennials, the less choices the better. 2. The pursuit of Happiness. Millennials are the most over-medicated, most over-anxious generation. 3. The burden of expression. Millennials value self-expression eight times more than baby boomers. They want to show the world who they are and they want people to understand them. 4. The saturation of technology. With the rise of technology, millennials struggle with interpersonal communication, but that doesn’t mean they don’t crave that interaction. 5. Shifting the expectations. Not everyone can win and it is changing the way millennials set goals. The average millennial changes jobs four times in their first decade out of college, which is double the rate of previous generations. Why? Because they have the freedom of choice.

T he Path to Progress in the Workplace While it’s important to know the inner workings of a millennial, how does this translate to the workplace? 1. Principle of Purpose. Millennials want to feel connected to why they are doing the job, so let passion fuel and strategy rule. 2. Principle of Adaption. A career should never be static. 3. Principle of Responsiveness. Communication is the anchor of trust. 4. Principle of Advocacy. Invest in the person—not the employee.

• Prioritize directness over perfection. Millennials respect those who have a strong point of view.

5. Principle of Autonomy. The path to loyalty is paved with independence.

• Prefer peer-to-peer on-demand learning.

6. Principle of Integrity. Earn loyalty through authenticity and vision.

• Crave work-life fusion, not work-life balance. Millennials look at work as a holistic expression of themselves. • Value emotional intelligence. • Desire fulfillment at work. Millennials value personal growth (because of us, my world is better), tribal influence (because of us our world is better), and social impact (because of us the world is better).

7. Principle of Betterment. Create applicable learning experiences. With DuDell’s pragmatic solutions to retaining the millennial employee, attendees left with tools they need to infuse these practices into their workplaces. “Invest in the person, not the employee,” said DuDell.


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NSGA former Board Member Don Bates and Congressman Charlie Crist from Florida, Don’s home state.

NSGA Washington, D.C. Lobby Day Produces Results By Larry Weindruch, NSGA Director, Public Affairs

In late April when activity in Washington, DC, was in high gear, the NSGA delegation spent the day making its case for sales tax fairness, seeking support for the PHIT Act and expressing opposition to the Border Adjustment Tax. The delegation educated members of Congress and their staffs about the issues facing retailers and team dealers.

NSGA Board Member Jerry Williams with Congressman (and former Schuylkill Valley employee) Ryan Costello.

NSGA Director of Public Affairs Larry Weindruch coordinated the third annual Capitol Hill Lobby Day. Participants were NSGA Chairman of the Board David Labbe, Kittery Trading Post, Kittery, Maine; Don Bates, Allen Sports Center, Seminole, Florida; Pat Donnelley, Donnelley Sports, Twin Falls, Idaho; Mike Hendrix, East Coast Hockey & Skating Supply, Laurel, Maryland; Jeff Miller, Scholastic Sports Sales, Manlius, New York; Randy Nill, Nill Bros. Sporting Goods, Kansas City, Kansas; Bob Olson, Viking Ski Shop, Chicago, Illinois; Cathy Pryor, Hibbett Sports, Birmingham, Alabama and Jerry Williams, Schuylkill Valley Sports, Pottstown, Pennsylvania. NSGA President & CEO Matt Carlson and Director of Marketing & Communications Katie Bruce, along with NSGA’s lobby partners from, also participated in the meetings.

NSGA members walk the halls for meetings during the third NSGA Lobby Day. 14 | NSGA NOW ®

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Nineteen meetings were held with members of the U.S. House of Representatives or their staffs. Soon after the meetings, two Congressmen who had expressed support for the PHIT Act added their names to the growing list of co-sponsors, Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota and Rep. Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania. An interesting reunion of sorts occurred during the group’s meeting at Congressman Costello’s office. When NSGA Director Jerry Williams asked if the Congressman was familiar with Schuylkill Valley Sports, he told Williams that he actually worked at one of their stores while in college. “I had limited understanding of what this day would entail,” Williams said. “I ended the day with a much greater understanding of the lobbying processes and how our government works.

“My takeaway from the day was, the time to make connections with powerful people is before you have a need in your business. I would highly recommend every business leader to understand the process and how you can make change,” he added. “During our visit to Washington, Congress was taking a second look at healthcare,” Matt Carlson said. “Also, it was the day that the Trump Administration announced the principles for its first budget.” “For those and other reasons, this year’s NSGA Lobby Day was different than in the past, since only the PHIT Act had been introduced. In addition to the constituent meetings, we focused on select members of the House ‘freshman class’ who sit on key committees.” As of June 1, the PHIT Act had 46 House co-sponsors and 10 in the Senate, including Senator John McCain, who met with a group that included Weindruch during NSGA’s participation in National Health Through Fitness Day in March.

When reminded of the dwindling number of physically fit potential recruits for the military and how the PHIT Act would increase access to fitness- and activity-related products and resources, Senator McCain, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, committed himself to co-sponsor the bill that is designed to improve America’s health and fitness. He also indicated that in his role as Chairman of this important committee, he would encourage support for PHIT. In constructing the delegations that travel to Washington, NSGA reviews lists of U.S. Senators and Representatives whose support is deemed important by the various issue-based coalitions. That is cross-referenced with the NSGA member roster to identify retailers and dealers who would help make an effective presence in a one-day fly-in. Information on legislative issues is contained on the NSGA website, There, you can download letters to send to your U.S. Senator or Representative. For more information on NSGA’s advocacy activities, please contact Larry Weindruch,, or (847) 296-NSGA (6742), ext. 1290.

Sales Tax Fairness Bills Reintroduced

The day after NSGA’s Capitol Hill Lobby Day, Senate and House versions of sales tax fairness bills were introduced. The Marketplace Fairness Act (S. 976) was introduced by Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming. The Remote Transactions Parity Act (H.R. 2193) was introduced by Rep. Kristi Noem of South Dakota. These identical bills have bi-partisan support and would permit states to require out of state Internet sellers to collect and remit the sales tax that is already due in those states that have sales tax. This is one of the most important issues facing brick and mortar retailers. To make progress in Washington, it is essential that your voice be heard. Show your support for these bills today and visit the NSGA website to download a letter to send to your U.S. Senator and your U.S. Representative.


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2 017 Business Relationship Survey: Viewpoints from Retailers and Team Dealers By Dustin Dobrin, NSGA Director, Research & Information

The sporting goods industry continues to evolve, with industry consolidation, online sales and selling direct to consumers as just a few examples in which the environment is transforming. Throughout this change, a critical business component that must remain in good health is the business relationship a retailer or team dealer has with its vendors. To gain a current pulse on these relationships and to identify current issues, NSGA conducted a brief survey among industry retailers and team dealers. The survey was executed in February and March of this year and 264 responses were received. The results indicated that 58% of retailers and team dealers were satisfied or very satisfied with the industry’s manufacturers, 28% had a neutral opinion and 15% were unsatisfied or very unsatisfied (exhibit A). Although the overall feelings were mixed, there was greater consensus on the types of frustrations being expressed.

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When asked to share the No. 1 frustration about the manufacturers, three common themes became evident. The increasing trend towards selling direct to consumers was the key area of concern. In fact, 95% of retailers and team dealers are worried about this trend and believe they are in competition with their own suppliers for business. The perceived lack of inventory on key products was the second theme to arise. This issue is causing frustration due to lost customer opportunities and sales. Competition with companies that sell online, unfair pricing programs and a lack of acceptable communication represented a third tier of issues expressed among retailers and team dealers. To dive deeper into specific business activities, survey participants were asked to rate their level of satisfaction pertaining to 10 key business attributes (exhibit B). The responses clearly indicate opportunities for discussion related to customer service and marketing/merchandising.

Return policies, effective communication, addressing issues in a timely manner and the quality of marketing materials received satisfaction scores of 35% or lower. The issues and dissatisfaction expressed are leading to points of contention within the industry. Only 17% of the retailers and team dealers surveyed think the industry’s manufacturers are concerned about their businesses and success. It should be reiterated that the viewpoints in this survey are from the perspective of retailers and team dealers. There are two sides to a conversation, therefore, it is certain industry manufacturers would have their own set of concerns and issues. During these times of change, the hope would be for these survey results to generate productive discussions between the industry’s retailers, team dealers and manufacturers.



Overall Satisfaction with Industry’s Manufacturers


Very Satisfied


Satisfied Neutral Unsatisfied Very Unsatisfied



Satisfaction Ratings


| Percentage Choosing Satisfied or Very Satisfied


Their products are of the highest quality


They have innovative products


They have reasonable order minimums


They offer fair pricing


They deliver product in a timely manner


Trustworthiness/stick to their word They address issues in a timely manner


They have great communication with me


They have an easy return policy


Great marketing/merchandising



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Updated Insights into Participation/ Purchase Trends, Demographics and Cross Participation Now Available By Nick Rigitano, Research and Information Analyst

NSGA recently released the 2017 editions of its Sports Participation and Sporting Goods Market reports — must-have documents for any organization looking for key insights into the Sporting Goods Industry. For more than 30 years, NSGA has been the Industry’s leader in providing reliable research and information to sporting goods executives. Topline insights from the reports include the following:

Sports Participation in the US:

Sporting Goods Market:

A year after participation increases across all segments, the 2016 results point to more mixed performance, with half of segments increasing in participation and half decreasing during 2016 (vs. 2015).

The report shows consumer retail dollar sales of sporting goods equipment, footwear and apparel increased 2% in 2016.

Segments experiencing growth included Open Water Sports (+3.6%), Shooting Sports (+0.8%), Fitness Activities (+0.7%), Team Sports (+0.3%) and Outdoor Activities (+0.3%). Segments declining included Wheel Sports (-0.5%), Individual Sports (-0.8%), Indoor Games (-2.8%), Personal Contact Sports (-2.9%) and Snow Sports (-5.0%). This year’s edition of the Sports Participation in the US report includes a summary snapshot of segment participation trends from the 1990s through 2016 based on the Total Participation Points (TPP) measure introduced last year. The report also includes easy-to-understand quick view snapshots by sport/activity, allowing users to easily see a 10-year participation trend (when available) in addition to key demographic and geographic drivers of participation. NSGA’s participation research also includes Cross Participation, Lifecycle Demographics, and Single Sport reports.

For more information on each report and to purchase your copies today, please visit

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A deeper look into the report indicates dollar sales increased by 3% for athletic footwear, while apparel and equipment both increased by 1% vs. 2015. The footwear category experienced largest dollar gains in the gym/fashion sneaker, cross-training/fitness shoe and running/jogging shoe segments. The equipment category benefited from growth in the hunting and firearms, fitness and camping segments. Four of the top five largest dollar generators in the apparel category were related to the fitness segment, with clothing for working out at clubs/gyms/studios and for working out with equipment leading the way. Bicycle riding apparel was also within the top five. From a channel of purchase perspective, full-line sporting goods stores were the leading channel of purchase for equipment and footwear. Within the equipment segment, specialty sport shops continued to be the second largest outlet, but online sites are gaining share and closing the gap. Within the footwear segment, online sites ranked No. 2 and discount stores were No. 3. In addition to reporting sales trends for more than 130 product categories, NSGA’s Sporting Goods Market report also includes insights into the channels of purchase and the demographics of the key users for a majority of these product categories.

Participation Changes

| Percentage Change vs. 2015

3.6% 0.8% 0.7% 0.3% 0.3% Open Water







Indoor Games

Personal Contact


-0.5% -0.8% -2.8% -2.9% -5.0%

Total Consumer Retail Sales Dollars

2% Total

1% Equipment

| Percentage Change vs. 2015

3% Footwear

1% Apparel


July/August 2017 | 19

LOCKER ROOM NOW NFHS Rules Updates A look at some of the upcoming rule changes from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). Baseball Two important equipment rule changes regarding baseballs and chest protectors were announced by the NFHS. Starting Jan. 1, 2019, all baseballs used in high school competition shall meet the NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) standard at the time of manufacture. The revision of Rule 1-3-1 was recommended by the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee and approved by the NFHS Board of Directors. “We are excited that our membership will now have equipment that meets a standard that is consistent across the country,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and student services and staff liaison for baseball. “We are comfortable knowing that all baseballs for high school play will be the same size, same weight and have similar playability.” The committee also revised Rule 1-5-3, which will require the catcher to wear a chest protector that meets the NOCSAE standard at the time of manufacture, effective Jan. 1, 2020. The NOCSAE standard has been developed to protect the heart and the cardiac silhouette from commotio cordis, which is one of the leading causes of sudden cardiac death in young athletes in baseball and lacrosse. The 2020 date was chosen to give manufacturers time to produce enough available product. “Being aware that a standard exists to protect players, this decision was easy to make,” Hopkins said. “When our catchers wear this chest protector, we are confident that the best protection for their heart is constructed into this equipment.” The Baseball Rules Committee also modified Rule 1-3-2a2 regarding the components of a bat. The modified language states that bats “not have exposed rivets, pins, rough or sharp edges or any form of exterior fastener or attachment(s) that would present a potential hazard.” Wearable technology and the impact it will have on high school baseball in the future was also a discussion topic at the June Rules committee meeting.

Wrestling An alternate two-piece uniform consisting of compression shorts, or shorts designed for wrestling, and a form-fitted compression shirt has been approved for the 2017–18 high school wrestling season by the NFHS. Wrestlers will have the option of wearing the traditional one-piece singlet or the new two-piece uniform. The revision to Rule 4-1-1 was recommended by the NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee in early April and was approved by the NFHS Board of Directors. The committee approved the alternate two-piece uniform, in hopes of increasing boys and girls participation in wrestling, after receiving favorable results from experimentation and positive comments from schools, students, coaches and officials. The compression shorts or shorts designed for wrestling shall be school-issued and shall have a minimum 4-inch inseam that does not extend below the knee. The form-fitted compression shirt shall not cover or extend below the elbow and shall have a minimum 3-inch tail. The shirt may be worn under a singlet or with compression shorts or shorts designed for wrestling. Specific language was developed regarding undergarment requirements for female contestants wearing a one-piece singlet or a form-fitted compression shirt, as well as for male contestants wearing shorts designed for wrestling. Football Footballs cannot be used for advertising, for example, with a local business or sponsor. Allowable on the football are the ball manufacturer's name or logo, the school name or logo, the conference name or logo and the NFHS authenticating mark. Home team jerseys will have to be a dark color which clearly contrasts with white and will go into effect for the 2021 season. The rule change is important for game administration and was coach-driven. It is illegal to have slogans such as "Tradition" or "Legacy" on the front or back nameplate of the uniforms. Team nicknames and/or slogans are also illegal. An example of a one-time exception that would be allowable would be a jersey honoring Wounded Warriors, provided it is approved by the state's association.

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Shoulder pads must be covered and back pads must be completely covered by jerseys. Football pants must have the knee pad and pant covering the knee completely. While the NFHS football rules committee did not approve a recommendation this year for using plain mouth guards, football rules editor Bob Colgate said the proposal could come up again. Mouthguards with logos, nicknames and numbers are currently legal but any design that could be considered offensive or a form of taunting is illegal. Softball Equipment no longer has to be inspected by the umpire or placed outside the dugout/bench prior to the start of the game. The NFHS Softball Rules Committee agreed the responsibility for ensuring players are legally and properly equipped rests with the head coach and school administration. “Umpires must remain vigilant in identifying illegal or altered equipment throughout the course of the game, and equipment violation penalties will continue to be assessed when discovered,” said Sandy Searcy, NFHS director of sports and staff liaison for softball. “However, it is the head coach’s responsibility to verify that his or her players’ equipment is legal.”

For rules 3-4-1d and 3-4-4, identifying names that can be placed in the allowable area of the jersey must adhere to the following: school name, school nickname, school logo, player’s name and/or abbreviation of the official school name. The panel in the shoulder area on the back of the jersey may be used for placing an identifying name as well. Ice Hockey A new rule was approved regarding water bottles for goalkeepers for the 2017–18 season. Rule 1-3-5 will require water bottles used by goalkeepers to be secured on the top or back of the goal frame. The requirement ensures water bottles will not fall onto the ice and interfere with the flow of the game. One of the big issues for the NFHS and NCAA is certain Cat-Eye goalie masks meeting the Hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC) standards and others that did not and would be considered illegal for use. The ice hockey page at has illustrations of what is legal and illegal.

The committee also approved an exception to Rule 3-2-7c which defines wristbands with a playbook/playcard attached as equipment. The wristband shall be a single solid color other than optic yellow. Track and Field/Cross Country All uniforms worn in track and field/cross country must be either issued or approved by the school in a revision of Rule 4-3-1. The NFHS Track and Field Rules Committee also revised Rule 6-5-11, establishing the nonmetal crossbar in the pole vault shall not be less than 14 feet, 8 inches or more than 14 feet, 10 inches in length. The revision provides consistency in establishing a range for length of the pole vault crossbar, similar to the high jump. Language in Rule 8-6-1 regarding track and field uniforms was eliminated and replaced with “Each competitor’s uniform shall meet requirements and restrictions as presented in Rules 4-3-1 and 4-3-2, Competitor’s Uniform in Track and Field and Cross Country.” The change was made to eliminate duplicate language in the two separate sections. Basketball Changes regarding allowable identifying names on basketball jerseys were approved by the National Federation of State High School Association Board of Directors, effective for the 2017–18 season.

Lacrosse The new NOCSAE ball standard with the combined certification mark of NOCSAE and SEI (Safety Equipment Institute) and the NFHS Authenticating Mark went into effect April 1. The new specifications for the crosse on the boys stick go into effect in 2018. The specifications are: • 1.25 and 3.0 inches from the throat — a minimum distance of 3 inches from the narrowest point on the head on the front or back. • 5.0 inches from the throat — a minimum distance of 3.5–4.0 inches on the front and 4.0 inches on the back from the narrowest point on the head. • Widest point — minimum of 6.0 inches from the narrowest point on the head on the front or back.


July/August 2017 | 21

LOCKER ROOM NOW NCAA Rules Updates NCAA football rules liaison Ty Halpin said a point of emphasis for 2017 will be enforcement of the existing rules on football pants having to go to the knees with a half-inch knee pad. Halpin said the NCAA rule requires the pants to completely cover the knee, but for now, the goal is to see pants get to some part of the knee and then “worry about long-term purchasing decisions further down the road.” Officials and conferences will be urged to make sure players are in compliance with the rule. Halpin said the NCAA is also looking closely at the NFL's “one-helmet rule,” where a player uses one helmet fitted and certified through the year and it doesn't allow for a throwback helmet. He said he is sensing in a few years NCAA teams may be allowed to wear only road and home helmets and no alternative helmets. Lacrosse Headgear is not required for women's lacrosse, but if players do wear headgear it must meet the most current ASTM standard. NCAA women's lacrosse liaison Rachel Seewald said there are not many players wearing headgear and the rules committee is not looking to mandate headgear. NFHS and US Lacrosse also said they have no mandates coming about women wearing ASTM approved headgear. Division I women are using a possession or shot clock this year and Seewald said Division II and III will use one next year. Ty Halpin said it is an ongoing topic of discussion for men's lacrosse. Ice Hockey Hockey rules liaison Ty Halpin said the NCAA is very interested in what the NHL has done with the streamlining of goalie equipment. Halpin said Division I men would adopt the NHL standards as quickly as they can with Division III men and women's hockey most likely following at a slower rate.

NOCSAE Standards Updates Commotio cordis The commotio cordis chest protector standard, which addresses sudden cardiac death, had its implementation date moved from January 2018 to June 2018 at the NOCSAE Standards Committee Meeting on June 16 in Indianapolis. NOCSAE Executive Director Mike Oliver said the standard would currently be applied only to baseball and lacrosse, because it is specific to the mass of the balls in those sports, but he expects it to eventually expand to softball and ice hockey. Oliver said the chest protection could be a baseball or lacrosse chest protector, a device that protects the cardiac silhouette or a compression shirt. Oliver said companies have approached SEI about certification but the standard will need more work to become a viable standard. Because this

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is a new standard there is more flexibility with the date for compliance than with a revised standard. Oliver said the industry is supportive of the commotio cordis standard and believes most of the issues can be addressed relatively quickly. “If two or three lives are saved it will be worth every minute that was invested in it,” Oliver said. Football helmets The new football helmet performance standard to include testing for rotational forces, which most neuroscientists believe are primarily associated with concussions, had its implementation date moved from June 2018 to November 2018 to ensure enough helmet models tested to the new standard will be available. “I am convinced the helmet that meets the new standard will prevent an increased number of concussions,” Oliver said. "I'm also convinced we won't be able to measure that accurately in the field.” Lacrosse balls The women's lacrosse ball standard went into effect in June. It is for a ball that is less likely to cause serious injury. By June, balls made and submitted for certification must comply with the new standard. The ball must have the name NOCSAE and SEI on it and other governing bodies can add their authenticating mark as required. Oliver said there also must be a model on the ball. He said SEI publishes a list of certified models on their website at The Standards Committee also voted on two revisions to the lacrosse ball standard to expand the compression-deflection and to change the compliance criteria from level 3 to 2. Field Hockey headgear and balls The field hockey headgear and field hockey ball standards are in final status but Oliver said he was not sure when they would be incorporated into the rules of play. Oliver said he was concerned there has not been a rush into a certification program by manufacturers of those products.

USA Baseball Plans Sticker Program for Tee-Ball Bats USA Baseball has produced a program for continued use of tee ball bats manufactured before the implementation of the new USABat standard, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2018. The USA Baseball Tee Ball Sticker Program is designed to allow for the continued sale and use of uncertified tee ball bats (26 inches and shorter), leading up to and following the implementation of the USABat standard.

Approved tee ball bats under USABat will feature the USA Baseball mark and permanent text: ONLY FOR USE WITH APPROVED TEE BALLS. Tee ball bats are not required to undergo lab testing to receive USABat approval, but they must feature the USA Baseball mark and accompanying permanent text to be approved for play within participating USA Baseball National Member Organizations. The USABat Tee Ball Sticker Program will allow bat manufacturers, retailers, team dealers and individuals to purchase stickers marked with the USA Baseball logo and permanent text regarding approved tee balls. The program will allow manufacturers, retailers and team dealers to liquidate their existing tee ball bat inventory manufactured prior to implementation of the USABat standard by marking their bats with approved stickers. Retailers, team dealers and licensed bat manufacturers can begin selling the certified baseball and tee ball bats meeting the new USABat standard, with the USA Baseball mark, on Sept. 1. The USABat Tee Ball Sticker is a 1.25-inch by 2-inch vinyl sticker featuring the USA Baseball logo and permanent text ONLY FOR USE WITH APPROVED TEE BALLS. Stickers will be available for retailers and team dealers beginning July 15 and they will be available for purchase online at beginning Sept. 1.

DeMarini Withdraws 13 Zen Model Baseball Bats from USSSA DeMarini concluded its BPF audit for USSSA Baseball and has permanently withdrawn 13 Zen models from USSSA play. Withdrawn Zen bats retooled by DeMarini to meet USSSA performance standards are allowed in USSSA sanctioned play. These retooled Zen bats will have the USSSA mark on their taper, will have end caps which are substantially orange and will have a new model number including an orange R.

Riddell, USA Football Extend Partnership to 2022 Riddell and USA Football extended a partnership to 2022. Riddell, the official protective equipment partner of USA Football, will continue to assist in fulfilling the organization’s annual grant program, which will award nearly $2 million in 2017 to scholastic and youth football teams. Riddell will become a sponsor of USA Football’s Heads Up Football program, employed by high schools, middle schools and youth sports organizations nationwide to educate coaches using materials relevant for virtually every sport young athletes love to play. Riddell’s involvement will be instrumental in advancing Heads Up Football’s message of better and safer play.

Russell Hartford, the director of the USABat program, said the final pricing for each sticker pack has not been determined yet. Hartford said the goal is to keep it as low as possible and it is not intended to be a money-making program.

Wilson Partners With Pop Warner

Anyone with orders of more than 1,000 stickers, with the price of 10 cents per sticker, should contact Hartford directly at Hartford said the turnaround for orders should be within seven business days and it will likely be sooner than that in most cases. Each sticker order will be accompanied with an instruction card showing how to properly apply the stickers to tee ball bats.

As part of the agreement, every Pop Warner team will play with the Wilson TDY, TDJ and K2 for Region Championships across the U.S. and the Pop Warner Super Bowl & International Championships at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in December.

The USA Baseball National Member Organizations that will use the USABat standard for youth baseball and tee ball bats include the American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC), Babe Ruth Baseball/Cal Ripken Baseball, Dixie Youth Baseball, Little League Baseball and PONY Baseball. United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) Baseball, which is primarily for travel or tournament players, does not plan to adopt the USABat standard.

Pop Warner has chosen Wilson Sporting Goods as its official provider of footballs for all Pop Warner youth football games.

“Pop Warner has long been committed to partnering with some of the nation’s very best brands, and there aren’t many names more popular anywhere in sports than Wilson,” said Jon Butler, executive director of Pop Warner Little Scholars. “Like Pop Warner, Wilson has a long history of bringing the fun and excitement of sports to young people. We’re proud to work with such a respected organization that also makes a fantastic football.” “Pop Warner’s dedication to young athletes across the nation is tremendous and mirrors our own love of and commitment to sports,” said Kevin Murphy, general manager, Team Sports, Wilson. “We look forward to actively working with Pop Warner towards further enriching their football programs and supporting coaches and young student-athletes as they pursue their athletic goals.”

54th Annual NSGA Management Conference & 20th Annual Team Dealer Summit

SAVE THE DATE MAY 20 – 22, 2018

Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa Bonita Springs, FL

NSGA Now July/August 2017  

July/August issue of NSGA Now magazine.