Volume 4 | No. 1 | January/February 2016
A PUBLICATION OF THE NATIONAL SPORTING GOODS ASSOCIATION
Learn About the 2016 Keynote Speakers Networking at the Event NSGA Innovations Arena
A GLIMPSE INTO THE
2016 Conference & Summit
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
8 Feature Article 2016 Management Conference Keynote Speakers to Deliver One-Two Punch
5 6 8
14 18 20 22
NSGA Management Conference & Team Dealer Summit Provides Something for Everyone
Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Famer Passes Away; Nominations Being Accepted for Industry Recognition
Overcoming Obstacles to Bicycle Riding
Management Conference Preview
Speakers, NSGA Innovations Arena, Networking Opportunities and More
5 Simple Steps to Protect Your Trademarks
SummerSkates Takes Off from Basement Idea to Big Hit
Availability: Reconsidering the Fundamentals
American Legion Baseball Logo Requirement, No Pitch Clock Coming to NCAA DI Baseball, U.S. Soccer & Concussion Awareness
January/February 2016 | 3
NSGA OFFICERS Chairman of the Board Randy Nill
Nill Bros. Sports, Kansas City, KS
Treasurer/Chairman-Elect David Labbe
Kittery Trading Post, Kittery, ME
Past Chairman Ken Meehan
Dunham’s Sports, Troy, MI
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Dale Donaldson
Mallard’s Source for Sports, Castlegar, British Columbia, Canada
Donnelley Sports, Twin Falls, ID
Johnson-Lambe Co., Raleigh, NC
Scholastic Sports Sales, Ltd., Manlius, NY
Hibbett Sports, Birmingham, AL
Letter from the CEO You might be reading this issue of NSGA Now for various reasons; maybe you are a member reading each issue to stay up-to-date on sporting goods industry trends, or maybe something on the front cover caught your eye. You may be a small retailer looking for resources to grow your business, a manufacturer who’s interested in learning about NSGA members to connect with, or a brand-new business looking for ideas that will make you more competitive. Just like our magazine, NSGA’s annual conference has something for everyone. In this issue, you’ll find a preview of the upcoming NSGA 52nd Annual Management Conference & 18th Annual Team Dealer Summit that will take place in Hilton Head Island, SC May 22-25, 2016. No matter what type of business you represent, the Conference & Summit is a place where you will find the best business building opportunities in the industry. We are excited to bring you another quality event in 2016, jam-packed with education and networking. NSGA takes feedback from each Conference & Summit to produce the best event possible for the next year. We are confident you will not be disappointed in the educational sessions. The sessions will cover a wide variety of topics including employee motivation, the future of retail, youth sports participation and much more. We are also excited to have two great keynotes with us in 2016; Sugar Ray Leonard, champion boxer, entrepreneur and philanthropist and Greg Gumbel, iconic sports broadcaster and humanitarian. Leonard will speak on Monday, May 23 at 8 a.m. and Gumbel will speak on Tuesday, May 24 at 8:30 a.m. These are two “not to be missed” sessions that are sure to inspire.
Athletic Dealers of America, Viera, FL
MC Sports, Grand Rapids, MI
STAFF Matt Carlson
President & CEO
Director, Research & Information
Director, Business Development
Director, Team Dealer Division/HDA
Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Veneese Mollison Database Manager
Attendees will also be able to take advantage of networking opportunities to connect with industry peers face-to-face throughout the Conference & Summit. With more than 10 dedicated networking opportunities in just three days, you are sure to create the foundation for long-lasting business relationships. Networking opportunities will include daily breakfasts, evening receptions, tennis, golf, the “Mr. Newsome’s Neighborhood Walk,” and more. If you are planning to attend the Conference & Summit, we urge you to take advantage of as many of these opportunities as you can to leave with much more than education. While we encourage everyone to experience the Conference & Summit first-hand, we realize that not everyone is able to attend. That is why we continue to provide great resources through our publications, website and more. If there is ever something you would like to see covered in the magazine or would like to learn more about, please do not hesitate to email or call an NSGA staff member. Although we try and keep up with the diverse issues of our members, our best information comes directly from you. We are looking forward to the next few months as we continue planning for what’s sure to be a great event! Best regards, Matt Carlson President & CEO
Director, Marketing & Communications
Research & Information Analyst
Director, Public Affairs
Chief Financial Officer
4 | NSGA NOW
Katie Nemec | 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) 296-6742; 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 2016. Printed in the USA.
Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Famer Joachim Schröder Passes Away at age 65 Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame member Joachim Schröder passed away on November 10. Schröder, 65, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006 for his accomplishments during his 28-year career at German sporting goods giant Karstadt Sports. Schröder was the first European sporting goods retailer to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Submit Your Nomination for the 2017 Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame
Schröder joined Karstadt in 1974 as a store assistant, and by 1977 had become a buyer in the head office. In 1981, he was head buyer of sporting goods equipment and became Director for sports and toys in 1991. He made his first trip to the United States in 1982 to visit the NSGA show in Chicago, and made more than 100 trips to the U.S. to conduct business. Schröder developed the Karstadt Sporthouse Concept, which were stores ranging in size from 20,000 to 70,000 square feet. He also developed the Runners Point Chainstore concept, similar to Foot Locker. At the time of his retirement, Karstadt was the leading sporting goods retailer in Germany.
2016 All-Star Awards Nomination Period Opens Celebrate the accomplishments and contributions made within the sporting goods industry this year Nominations for the 2016 NSGA All-Star Awards opened on January 1 and run through February 12, 2016. This year, the All-Star Awards will focus on two categories: Community Collaboration All-Star Award, recognizing businesses that go above and beyond in their support of community activities, and the Industry Catalyst All-Star Award, recognizing companies that implement measures to advance and spark innovation in the sporting goods industry.
Help NSGA identify the top pioneers, innovators and leaders in the sporting goods industry who deserve to join the more than 160 others in the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame. The nomination period for the 2017 Class of the Hall of Fame closes March 18, 2016. If you know a retailer, team dealer, manufacturer or sales agent who has more than 20 years’ experience in the sporting goods industry, and has made significant contributions to its betterment, he/she should be considered for induction. THE NOMINATION PROCESS IS EASY – just fill out the form located at nsga.org/halloffame, which includes information about the nominee, their accomplishments that make them worthy of induction, and three others who would support the nomination.
The winners of the 2016 All-Star Awards will be recognized at the Management Conference & Team Dealer Summit, May 22–25, 2016 at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa, Hilton Head Island, SC. TO SUBMIT A NOMINATION FOR THE 2016 PROGRAM, or for more information on past All-Star Award recipients, please visit nsga.org/allstarawards or email email@example.com.
January/February 2016 | 5
Overcoming Obstacles to Bicycle Riding By Dustin Dobrin NSGA Director, Research & Information
Bicycle Participation (in millions) 2000
YOUTH: 7–17 ADULT: 18+
#1 Reason to Ride Less/Not at All Overarching Obstacles
John F. Kennedy once said “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.” Bicycle riding is an activity that can be enjoyed by all ages. However, declining participation trends, particularly among youth, suggest that this belief is not as strong as it once was. As depicted in Exhibit 1, 43.1 million people rode a bike in the year 2000. This figure decreased to 35.6 million in 2014, representing an 18% decline. During this time period adult participation remained relatively stable at about 25.5 million while youth participation declined from 17.6 million in 2000 to 10.1 million in 2014. Why are fewer people riding a bike than in the past? To gain deeper insight into this question NSGA recently conducted a survey among a representative sample of 750 US households, accounting for 1,800 individuals. People identified as riding less than in the past or no longer at all selected answers from a list of more than 20 possible reasons with the option to write in additional answers. Each of the answers was then bucketed into one of 6 “overarching obstacles” as shown in Exhibit 2. The results of the study reveal that there are four key overarching obstacles to bicycle riding, leading to some interesting implications. The top overarching obstacle for participating less or no longer at all (shown in Exhibit 2) is lack of access to a bike (with “not owning a bike” being the top answer within this aggregate). Thirty-six percent of respondents say access to a bike is the #1 issue.
36% 25% 19% 12% 3%
6 | NSGA NOW
OPPORTUNITY TRANSPORTATION (TIME/WEATHER)
High Index Age Group
DON’T OWN BIKE
PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO RIDE
NOT ENOUGH FREE TIME
The second-ranked overarching obstacle is emotional-based, with 25% choosing a reason within this aggregate. The key answer that drives this response is that there simply is no longer a desire or interest to ride a bike. Some deeper, underlying reasons likely are influencing this response but the simple fact is these people are not choosing to ride a bike. The third and the fourth overarching obstacles are physical well-being/health issues (19%) and lack of opportunity (12%), respectively. The physical/health reasons are self-explanatory as this group can no longer ride a bike for a given physical or health reason. The opportunity reasons revolve around issues with the amount of free time and/or insufficient weather. Although additional obstacles are mentioned, including transportation needs (no longer need to ride a bike for transportation) and social aspects (no one to ride with), it is important to note that these obstacles combine to represent only 8% of the total responses. Overlaying each of the top four overarching obstacles by age group produces additional insights. Each obstacle tends to have a specific age group that skews toward it. Exhibit 3 shows this in tabular form. Access-based obstacles are cited more frequently by 18–34 year olds. Potential reasons for not owning a bike (the number one answer in this aggregate) could be that this group simply does not consider it a priority compared to other things going on in their lives. Emotionalbased obstacles are more often provided by 7–17 year olds, and these youth potentially are saying they simply have no desire or interest to ride a bike because they prefer a variety of other activities. Examples of these are other sports/activities, video games, online activities and more.
Opportunity-based obstacles tend to be a more frequent answer among 35–54 year olds as free time is typically at a minimum among this group. Finally, and not surprisingly, physical/health-based obstacles tend to be experienced more by the 55 year and older group. The results from this survey emphasize the importance of developing participation growth opportunities and solutions that are aimed to the proper audiences. For example, although it is obviously important to ensure access to bikes to encourage participation among youth, just as much focus should be placed toward the enjoyment of bicycle riding, the benefits of riding a bike over other activities, and the need to position bicycle riding in the best light with youth against other competing activities. Another example would be to develop bike drives, used bike sales and bike share programs to encourage access to bikes in areas where populations tend to skew toward 18–34 year olds.
It is important to note that the bike industry is not alone. There are several sports and activities that are experiencing declines in youth participation. The challenge will be to position sports and activities in a manner that will resonate with today’s youth. We would like to encourage you to share examples of impactful programs that have helped increase participation in your communities. Please send your examples to the NSGA Research Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 815-5422. We would love to continue the dialogue and share some of the most effective ways in which you and your communities are growing participation.
January/February 2016 | 7
MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE PREVIEW
2016 Management Conference Keynote Speakers to Deliver One-Two Punch By Katie Nemec NSGA Director, Marketing & Communications
Sugar Ray Leonard Leads with a Jab on Monday Morning of 2016 Conference & Summit Companies in the sporting goods industry have to be versatile. They have to change, adapt and look ahead to the next big thing. They need to have their hands in everything related to the industry and utilize all of their resources to build a better business. They have to be champions for their customers and for themselves. The Monday morning keynote speaker for the 2016 NSGA Management Conference & Team Dealer Summit is no exception when it comes to versatility. He is a champion who demonstrates how to build upon a successful brand. His charismatic personality and dedication to his family make him a knockout. Sugar Ray Leonard learned to box at age 14. His illustrious career includes three National Golden Gloves titles, two Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) championships and the 1975 Pan-American Games crown. After winning a gold medal in the 1976 Olympic Games, Leonard became a professional boxer a year later to help his family defer medical bills from his fatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s illness. His first victory led to a storied career of some of the most memorable fights in history.
8 | NSGA NOW
Leonard defeated some of the finest boxers of the modern era, including Wilfred Benitez, Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler, from whom he won the world middleweight title. His professional career spanned 20 years earning world titles in the welterweight, junior middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. Leonard was the first boxer to win world titles in five different weight classes. Leonard chronicles his life in the 2011 autobiography “THE BIG FIGHT: My Life In and Out of the Ring.” The book examines the man behind the boxer and the struggle Leonard has with his biggest competitor: himself. The book uses honesty, humor and hard-won perspective, to relate to triumphs and struggle - and presents a gripping portrait of remarkable strength, courage and resilience, both in and out of the ring. In addition to his successful boxing career, Leonard uses his success to develop positive business and philanthropic ventures. He debuted his new contemporary athletic men’s collection with Starting Lineup, available at Saks Fifth Avenue and startinglineupclothing.com, in the Fall of 2013. Leonard has also had a successful television career as a broadcaster, participant on Dancing with the Stars and host and mentor for the first three seasons of the critically-acclaimed series, Contender. Leonard appeared in the critically-acclaimed Paramount Pictures feature film The Fighter and also recently served as a consultant on DreamWorks and Walt Disney Pictures’ hit film Real Steel, starring Hugh Jackman. Leonard and his family are dedicated to the community and helping those in need. For many years, he has been the International Chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation “Walk for a Cure.” Leonard has a passion to help fund research and awareness for type 1 and 2 diabetes and obesity prevention. In 2009, Leonard and his wife Bernadette founded the Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation and support the life-changing programs at the Center for Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
“We love to have speakers who are versatile; they reflect the characteristics contributing to our members’ success. As an athlete turned entrepreneur and philanthropist, Sugar Ray Leonard is a shining example of this.” — NSGA President & CEO Matt Carlson
Carlson commented, “Athletes are relatable in this industry, and having someone who can apply principles from sports to their life after the sport has resonated with our audience. We think Sugar Ray Leonard will do just that.” Leonard will illustrate the steps and sacrifices it took to achieve his Olympic gold medal and professional boxing dreams. He will share stories about his journey from athlete to entrepreneur, and the qualities he believes help achieve greatness not only in the ring, but also in the business world.
January/February 2016 | 9
MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE PREVIEW CONTINUED
Gumbel Makes the Call on Tuesday Morning of Conference & Summit By Angela Mennecke NSGA Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Over 40 years in the exciting world of sports broadcasting, Greg Gumbel is one of the most iconic announcers in sports television. Gumbel’s first big break came when he landed a sports anchor position for a Chicago television station in 1973, a place he called home for seven years. From there, he went on to cover some of the greatest sporting events in history including Major League Baseball, the NBA, the NFL, the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament, the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, World Figure Skating Championships and the Daytona 500. Gumbel’s expansive career has given him a foundation for his message, which includes colorful illustrations and anecdotes from the world of sports. He will deliver the Tuesday keynote speech at 8:30 a.m., on May 24 at the 52nd Annual NSGA Management Conference & 18th Annual Team Dealer Summit at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa.
10 | NSGA NOW
Gumbel is one of the best at his craft, from his TV studio anchor work to his broadcast play-by-play. Gumbel hosted CBS’s Emmy Award-Winning show, The NFL Today, from 1990 to 1993 and then again in 2004 and 2005, as well as The NFL on NBC. He served as the lead play-by-play announcer for CBS’s coverage of the NFL for six years, and was the play-by-play voice for Super Bowl XXXV and Super Bowl XXXVIII. Gumbel earned an incredibly distinct honor when he became the first AfricanAmerican ever to call a major sports championship event when he called Super Bowl XXXV. He is also the first network broadcaster to do play-by-play and host the Super Bowl. He hosted Super Bowl XXVI, Super Bowl XXX, Super Bowl XXXII and called Super Bowl XXXVIII. During the NFL’s off-season, Gumbel is host of one of the premiere events in all of sports, the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament. He has been the host of March Madness since 1998, and provides network viewers with highlights and coverage on the Road to The Final Four with sports analysts Clark Kellogg, Seth Davis, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley. When Gumbel’s not behind the microphone, he spends his time giving back to the community. He is a prominent member of the National Board of Advisors for the March of Dimes and a member of the St. Jude Children’s Hospital Sports Council. In 2007, Gumbel was honored with the Pat Summerall Award, recognizing his work in sports journalism and his efforts to make a difference in the lives of those he has touched. He is also a proud member of the Board of Regents at his alma mater, Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.
FIRST African-American ever to call a major sports championship event, Super Bowl XXXV. FIRST network broadcaster to do play-by-play and host the Super Bowl.
January/February 2016 | 11
MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE PREVIEW CONTINUED
Second Annual Innovations Arena The NSGA Innovations Arena encourages and applauds the entrepreneurial spirit. In its second year, the NSGA Innovations Arena will feature the latest and greatest products in the sporting goods industry. NSGA believes in keeping its members on the cutting-edge, and the Innovations Arena provides new products and technology companies with a platform to showcase their innovative concepts. The space will feature new sporting goods industry products selected by the NSGA Board of Directors. The arena will be open during breakfast and networking breaks, as well as in the afternoons to provide attendees the opportunity to see live, interactive demonstrations and to ask questions. New for 2016, the Innovations Arena will be the location for Monday’s lunch giving attendees the opportunity to grab a bite and walk around at their leisure, providing more opportunity and access to exhibits.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to be here and to meet a lot of top retailers — people we haven’t been able to speak to face-to-face. We’ve seen a lot of interest from people who want to know what we’re all about. It’s nice to be able to walk around and see all of the innovative products in an intimate setting.” — Josh Bonventre, Co-Founder of Ramp Shot, 2015 NSGA Innovations Arena participant
12 | NSGA NOW
Networking Events SPS Commerce Opening Night Reception
Sunday, May 22 | 6 p.m. Head over to the Westin Ocean Front Pavilion for a welcome you are sure to remember. Admire the ocean’s beauty while reconnecting with old friends and colleagues. Light appetizers and beverages will be served.
“Mr. Newsome’s Neighborhood Walk”
Monday, May 23 | 4 p.m. Join NSGA for some exercise and networking. In its fourth year, the “Mr. Newsome’s Neighborhood Walk” will take place on Monday afternoon. Everyone is welcome to participate. We encourage you to sign-up on the registration form. Longtime Management Conference attendee and Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Famer Mickey Newsome will lead the group on a trail through and around the property. Participants will get a great workout trying to keep pace with Mickey Newsome.
A Taste of the Low Country
Monday, May 23 | 6 p.m. Immerse yourself in the Low Country! Join NSGA and sponsor PAI, for a special reception highlighting entertainment, cuisine and beverages native to the area. Spend the evening networking with fellow attendees and making business connections. Some of the highlights of the evening include a local bluegrass band, hearty cuisine with a southern twist and a special guest bringing along some Low Country friends.
Official NSGA Golf Tournament
Tuesday, May 24 | 12:30 p.m. Attendees who are interested in golf will not want to miss out on the Official NSGA Golf Tournament. Played yearly, the tournament is built into the Conference & Summit to allow attendees the opportunity to get out on the greens. The tournament will be played on May 24 on the Robber’s Row course at the Port Royal Golf Club. The course was redesigned in 1994 by world famous architect Pete Dye and holds a wealth of history. The course is set atop former Civil War grounds and features historical markers throughout the course, describing events which took place on the Island. Although tee shots have generous fairways to land in, approach shots require accuracy to the well-protected greens. Join NSGA for golf in one of the top U.S. golf destinations.
Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony
Tuesday, May 24 | 6:30 p.m. Join NSGA to recognize industry leaders being inducted into the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame. The impactful Class of 2016 includes Bill Battle, Jack Smith and Jim Throneburg. The event, sponsored by Mizuno, starts with a 6:30 p.m. reception and is followed by the dinner and induction ceremony.
From left: Mickey Newsome — Hibbett Sports, David Beckerman — Starter, Curt Mueller — Mueller Sports Medicine, Ralph Parks — RT Parks, Inc., Conny Klimenko — Conny Klimenko, LLC. at the 2015 NSGA Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame Dinner
January/February 2016 | 13
Simple Steps To Protect Your Trademarks
By David M. Lilenfeld Lilenfeld PC | Atlanta, Georgia
For sporting goods companies, a strong trademark can be invaluable. Why? Because brand names, logos and taglines all have the potential to build a real connection with consumers. Look no further than Nike. Their rallying cry of “Just Do It” – along with their famous “Swoosh” logo – cemented the Nike brand in the minds of potential customers across the globe. Even if your business only markets to the local community, a trademark can be a powerful asset. Of course, like anything of value, trademarks should be protected. This typically means registering your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Registration can help ward off copycats and avoid trademark disputes before they start. The process, however, can be overwhelming if you’re not familiar with trademark law. To help you with this challenge, here are five important tips for protecting your sporting goods company’s trademarks.
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STEP Make sure trademark protection is what you really need. Trademarks are sometimes confused with other types of intellectual property – specifically copyrights and patents. Before seeking legal protection, it’s important to know which of these properties you’re actually trying to protect. Suppose, for example, that McMurtry Sports (a manufacturer) develops a new baseball bat called the “McMurtry Special.” The company’s new invention (the bat itself) would be protected by a patent. However, the bat’s name (“McMurtry Special”) would be considered a trademark, as would the “McMurtry Sports” brand name. If the company writes about this new baseball bat on their website, this content would actually be protected by copyright. By keeping all these terms straight, you can avoid applying for trademark registration – and paying the fee – when what you really want is patent or copyright protection.
Choose your trademark wisely. Did you know that not every trademark is eligible for legal protection? Yes, it’s true. If the Trademark Office decides that your trademark is not sufficiently “distinctive,” it won’t qualify for legal protection. To avoid this, you need to ensure that your mark isn’t generic. In other words, the mark can’t simply describe an entire category of goods or services. For example, if a football equipment retailer tried to register the brand name “Football Equipment Store,” they would likely be denied. The name is simply not distinctive enough. In addition, the application process is not quick or cheap, so a mistake like this can be quite costly. Even if your trademark is legally distinctive enough to be registered, it still might be vulnerable to copycats and future disputes if it’s weak. For this reason, it’s always best to be creative when selecting a trademark.
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OPERATIONS NOW CONTINUED
STEP Search the Trademark Office database. No matter how creative your trademark is, it’s still possible that someone else has already taken it. So, before applying, search the Trademark Office’s database. If you find a word, symbol, etc., that matches the one you have in mind – or is extremely similar to it – there’s a strong chance your registration will be refused. Learning about conflicts early on can prevent a great deal of frustration down the line. If you’re really concerned about this, a trademark attorney can have an even more thorough search conducted on your behalf.
Simple Steps To Protect Your Trademarks
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Apply for registration online. The Trademark Office has an online system, the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS), which you can use to apply for your registration. You can access TEAS from the Trademark Office’s website. Applying online is much easier than using a paper application, and it’s greatly preferred by the Trademark Office. When filing your application, remember that the processing fee is nonrefundable. That means you should carefully review everything before you press “submit.” In addition, all information included in your application will be publicly available, so you may want to leave out your home address.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Monitor your application closely. Once you file your application, it will be reviewed by an Examining Attorney who works for the Trademark Office. During the review process, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to check for status updates every three to four months. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s because, once your status does change, action might be required on your part within a strict timeframe. Frequent checks can help you to stay on track and avoid missing a deadline.
David Lilenfeld is an intellectual property attorney and the founder of Lilenfeld PC in Atlanta, Georgia. This article is provided for general informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Being general in nature, the information and materials provided may not apply to any specific factual and/or legal set of circumstances. For tailored legal advice, you should consult an intellectual property attorney.
Conclusion As you can see, the process of developing (and then protecting) a strong trademark can be tricky. By following these five bits of advice, however, you can make things a lot easier on yourself. If you have questions about any of these tips, or if you want someone else to handle the registration process, you can always speak with a trademark attorney. The important thing is that your trademarks get the protection they need.
January/February 2016 | 17
SummerSkates Takes Off from Basement Idea to Big Hit By Marty Maciaszek Director, Team Dealer Division/HDA Director
Experimenting with an idea in the basement of his parents’ house could make Myles Doak’s idea bigger than he ever imagined.
Back in the summer of 2012, Doak thought a pair of flipflops could have an appealing look with hockey laces as the sandal bridge back. So, while he was home from college in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, Doak started sewing hockey laces together, built a few dozen prototypes and looked for a manufacturer. The result is SummerSkates, which has sold more than 60,000 units and gained NHL Preferred vendor status and a multiyear global NHLPA license. SummerSkates recently became a manufacturer member of the Hockey Dealers Association (HDA), which is a division of National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA). “More retailers and consumers are discovering SummerSkates are the perfect match of form, functionality, value and sports fashion on an individual and team basis,” said SummerSkates President and CEO Kevin Hennessy. “I really wanted to prove to myself that I could do this,” Doak said. “Everyone has ideas but it takes something more to turn that idea into a reality. To turn an idea into a tangible product that is available for sale was the only goal.”
Kevin Hennessy, left, and Myles Doak have worked together to launch SummerSkates, iconic sandals with a band made of hockey-skate laces.
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Doak and Hennessy worked tirelessly to bring their vision of SummerSkates to reality in April 2014. They were fortunate enough to outfit players in the NHL Winter Classic and from the St. Louis Blues. And the new St. Louis Blues SummerSkates were available in their True Blues retail store at the Scottrade Arena for the first game of their playoff series with the Chicago Blackhawks.
“I committed myself to that and from that point on there was no turning back. I know my personality and my competitiveness, which has been shaped over my whole life in sports. The classic line of hating losing more than liking winning definitely applies to myself.” In the summer of 2013, Doak had finished his second year of college and was working full-time building pools. He also had the first 3,000 pairs of SummerSkates from floor to ceiling in the basement where everything started a year earlier. He drove to houses and retailers and pushed on-line as much as he could to sell through nearly all 3,000 pairs. “I was getting ready to go back for my final year of college,” Doak said, “and I knew that there was something special about this product. Some type of change needed to happen to take this to the next level.” Late in August, Doak got an email from Hennessy, who received a pair of SummerSkates through a mutual friend. A meeting was set up where Hennessy shared his passion for startup businesses and how his North American consumer product experiences in corporate finance, strategy and retail provided the knowledge and connections to activate SummerSkates in the marketplace. Hennessy envisioned the ultimate performance and comfort sports sandal, at an attractive $29.99 price point, where the hockey laces forming the sandal bridge could be customized with embroidered logos for teams. The custom logo team product would need to have minimums of 20 pairs so a team could purchase them with a turnaround of less than 15 business days. “We didn’t know exactly how we were going to get there,” Doak said, “but I knew we could create some magic and a partnership was formed.”
“The consumer reaction was something I will never forget, not to mention it was my first NHL playoff game and it went into triple overtime,” Doak said. “That was the start of the new and improved SummerSkates, and I could not be more excited. I was pumped and ready for anything.” Doak and Hennessy hit charity golf tournaments, minor hockey events and the NHL Awards in Las Vegas to get SummerSkates in front of more people. Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown has ownership involvement. Key accounts of SummerSkates include Molson’s Canada, Wayne Gretzky’s Fantasy Camp and the Scotiabank BayCrest Hockey Pro-Am. “SummerSkates has strong support from many professional hockey players,” Hennessy said, “with their social media pictures and videos often showcasing them wearing SummerSkates.” “The Christmas 2015 launch of NHLPA Summer Skates was anticipated to accelerate the growing brand awareness. With high grades for consumer satisfaction on social media, carrying the SummerSkates product line is a strong opportunity to engage consumers.” Doak and Hennessy said plans are in place to meet the increasing demand for SummerSkates, which have already been customized with team logos and graphics by more than 500 sports teams. “The energy around SummerSkates feels like the business is going to explode,” Doak said. “My expectations from when I started this have been blown out of the water. The team is incredible, the product is elite and the next steps are going to be like nothing the industry has seen before.” To learn more about SummerSkates, contact them via email at email@example.com, by phone at (888) 747-3301 or go to their website at summerskates.com.
January/February 2016 | 19
Availability: Reconsidering the Fundamentals
For a transaction to occur, the shopper needs to make a connection between two different kinds of Availability â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Mental Availability and Physical Availability.
By John Rand Senior Vice President | Kantar Retail 20 | NSGA NOW
Mental Availability is simply when the shopper is aware of MENTAL something they AVAILABILITY might want. All marketing is about creating Mental Availability. Sporting goods, especially for the “major” sports, have a built-in advantage since highly visible events demonstrate use, display equipment in action, and help create Mental Availability every time a sport is in season. We reinforce Mental Availability with advertising for specific items to prompt the shopper and with merchandising in stores and on websites. Physical Availability is equally basic – the shopper PHYSICAL has to find it, AVAILABILITY whatever “it” may be. Though massive amounts of energy have moved into new forms of media and digital marketing, the simple act of finding something in a store is still largely unchanged. But these fundamentals may need new attention, as the experience of shopping digitally has changed expectations for shoppers of what shopping physically needs to become.
Completing a purchase has always rested on three things: Visibility, Findability and Shop-ability. Each supports the other. In today’s digital world, Findability is enhanced by search engines and lists, and well-supported by peer and product reviews, easy item comparisons. Visibility is enhanced with a whole array of informational tools, pictures and diagrams, perhaps snippets of video, and personalized recommendation, all of which function to give shoppers confidence in their selection. The weakness of Digital Visibility tends to be ineffective target marketing or a system that assumes too much and, as a result, does not work well to familiarize new shoppers with the products and their use. Shop-ability is actually rather easy in a well-designed digital offer – the checkout should be a click away, the actual transaction is usually pretty straightforward, there are no lines or barriers to purchase. The physical store sometimes suffers by comparison with digital. Mental Availability is achieved in similar ways, but Physical Availability has not progressed to match the strengths of digital. Findability is challenging: the store can be intimidating, with shoppers unsure where to go. Sight lines and department signs are often clear to the employee but less so to the shopper. Categories overlap, while the sheer quantity of merchandise is confusing to the eye. Once the shopper Finds, the information to make a decision easily is often not Visible. Pricing is important, but item comparisons, features, displays and explanations are often lacking. Many items are packed in ways that actually prevent the shopper from being confident of what is inside, creating barriers to decision. This is easy to overcome with personal service, but of course it is not possible for most retailers to personally intercept every shopper with a staff person who has the expertise for every category. And the challenge of staying in stock on everything in retail is legendary. Sometimes the best thing we in retail can do is bring in a totally untrained test shopper, a person who knows nothing special about the business, the products, or the store. Give them an “assignment” such as “buy your nephew a baseball bat” or “find a gift for the golfer in the family” and then see where they struggle, where they wish they knew more, where the shelf does not make clear decisions easy for them and find out where you have inventory that is hidden in plain sight from your customer. Don’t rely on experts to reconsider your merchandising. Rely on the shopper. It’s fundamental.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR John Rand is the Senior Vice President of Retail Insights for Kantar Retail, one of the leading retail consulting firms. Rand focuses on supermarket, club and value discounter channels and advises retailers and suppliers with nearly five decades of experience in store operations and design, branded product sales, purchasing, merchandising, marketing, category management and consulting.
January/February 2016 | 21
American Legion Baseball Logo Requirement for 2016
Alabama High Schools Approve Pitch Counts Starting in 2017
An American Legion Baseball authenticating logo will be required on all baseballs used in regular- and post-season competition in 2016. The current list of authentic products can be found by visiting emblem.legion.org/Baseballs/ products/364/.
The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) unanimously approved changing its pitching rules from innings pitched to a pitch count, beginning with the 2017 season. Alabama joins Colorado and Vermont with pitchcount limits policies.
No Pitch Clock Coming to NCAA Division I Baseball The NCAA Baseball Rules Committee has withdrawn an experimental rules proposal that would have created a 20-second pitch clock with runners on base in Division I for the 2016 season. Feedback gathered from 25 D-I coaches showed there was little support by any leagues to use the rule next season.
NHL Considers Equipment Changes to Increase Goal-Scoring The NHL’s decline in goal-scoring was a hot topic at the general managers’ meetings in November. Colin Campbell, the NHL senior vice president of hockey operations, said the league is looking to reduce the size of goalie equipment for the 2016-17 season, which has fueled a lot of debate throughout the league. Using bigger nets is also an option that was discussed. That would have an impact at other levels of play that would want to use nets the same size as the NHL. There are also construction issues since a wider net would require new holes in an ice arena’s cement. Through the first 215 games of the NHL season, the average goals scored was at 5.32. Last season finished at 5.46 a game and in 2009-10 it was 5.53, according to a Yahoo.com report. The average goals per game in 1981-82 was 8.025 and in 1985-86 it was 7.937, according to quanthockey.com. But advancements in the quality of goalie equipment, coupled with changes in technique for playing the position by players such as Patrick Roy, reduced the flow of pucks finding the net. Roy, who now coaches the Colorado Avalanche, told ESPN.com it’s a good idea to have larger nets and smaller goalie equipment.
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The Alabama pitch count rule will require a varsity pitcher to rest three calendar days after throwing 76 to 120 pitches in one day. The maximum pitches allowed at junior varsity is 100 and for junior high or middle school it is 85. The AHSAA Medical Advisory Board said limiting the number of pitches thrown is more important toward a player’s safety than innings pitched.
Dixie Boys/Majors Baseball In Dixie Boys and Majors Baseball (ages 13-19), wood, metal or graphite bats are required to have a 2 5/8-inch barrel. Bats must meet approved bat performance standards. In Dixie Boys Baseball any bat (aluminum/alloy) with a composite barrel must be BBCOR approved. In Dixie Majors Baseball, only BBCOR bats are allowed. Managers and coaches must wear a matching jersey with or without a number. It is permissible for a coach to wear a coaching shell as long as the matching jersey is underneath the shell. Any catchers helmet or helmet and mask combination shall have full ear protection (dual ear flaps).
American Youth Soccer Organization All AYSO uniforms must have the Fox Sports 1 (FS1) logo applied on the upper right front of the jersey, directly horizontal of the AYSO Traditional Logo. The FS1 logos must be a minimum of 3 inches and a maximum of 3½ inches in diameter. Organizations receive the logos from AYSO and they can be taken to any uniform shop to be applied. Uniform vendors will be reimbursed directly by AYSO for up to $1.50 per jersey for the logo application. For more information contact AYSO Marketing Services Manager Kristin Kelly at KristinK@ayso.org or (310) 525-1155.
AYSO National Director Ian McMahon will join NFHS Executive Director Bob Gardner and Positive Coaching Alliance Founder and CEO Jim Thompson in a panel discussion on youth sports participation at NSGA’s Annual Management Conference & Team Dealer Summit May 22–25 in Hilton Head Island, SC.
Reebok-CCM Ordered to Stop Helmet Safety Claims Reebok-CCM has agreed to stop making claims that its hockey helmets prevent head injuries after it reached a consent agreement with Canada’s Competition Bureau in late December.
U.S. Soccer Small-sided games (anything less than 11 v. 11) will be mandated August 2017 and will affect soccer ball sizes and goal sizes. The goal sizes will be 4 feet by 6 feet and a size 3 Ball will be used in 4 v. 4 games at 5 to 8 years old. The goal sizes will be 6 feet by 18 feet and a size 4 Ball will be used in 7 v. 7 games at 9 and 10 years old and in 9 v. 9 games at 11 and 12 years old.
U.S. Soccer Enacts New Rules Regarding Heading, Improved Concussion Awareness U.S. Soccer announced heading will be eliminated for players age 10 and under and limited to practice only for ages 11-13 for players who are part of U.S. Soccer’s Youth National Teams and its Development Academy, effective Jan. 1, 2016. This change is recommended but not required for U.S. Soccer’s youth members, because some of the youth members do not have direct authority at the local level to require the adaptation of the rules. The rules on heading, along with modification of substitution rules for concussion evaluation without penalty, improved concussion awareness and education among youth coaches, officials, parents and players and the installation of uniform concussion management and return-to-play protocols for youth players is part of a collaboration between plaintiffs in a 2014 youth concussion litigation and U.S. Soccer and defendants U.S. Youth Soccer Association, American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), U.S. Club Soccer and the California Youth Soccer Association. U.S. Soccer said the lawsuit, which was resolved Nov. 2, was not the impetus for the changes and work on a soonto-be announced player safety campaign started long before the lawsuit.
According to the Bureau, advertisements for the CCM Resistance hockey helmet contained words, images and videos that created an impression that the helmet would protect players from head injuries such as concussions. Reebok-CCM had conducted testing on the helmet prior to making the claims, but the Bureau determined the testing was not adequate and proper to support its marketing claims. The Bureau reached a similar agreement with Bauer Hockey last year. “We are pleased that Reebok-CCM has cooperated with the Bureau’s investigation and has agreed to stop making claims that could lead consumers into believing that their helmets can prevent concussions,” said John Pecman, the Bureau’s Commissioner of Competition. “Arriving at an agreement rapidly that resolves the Bureau’s concerns while putting sports equipment in the hands of the less fortunate is a great alternative to spending time and resources in a courtroom.” The agreement with the Bureau requires Reebok-CCM to: • Donate $475,000 worth of sports equipment to a charity that supports youth in sports or teams, associations or leagues for underprivileged children or youth hockey players; • Remove or modify the remaining claims from all marketing materials, including packaging and online advertising; • Implement an enhanced corporate compliance program and take steps to ensure retailers do not make unsupported claims; • Pay $30,000 toward the Bureau’s investigation costs. On its website, Reebok-CCM advertised that the CCM Resistance helmet had a “Rotational Energy Dampening System” that helped manage rotational impacts and reduce rotational acceleration of the head during impact, according to a story in the “Toronto Globe” and “Mail”. The Bureau determined this created an impression the helmet could protect against head injuries.
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22 25 MAY 2016
MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE TEAM DEALER SUMMIT