Meet Our 2015 ILS Future Industry Leaders Scholars: Aretha Thurmond

           New%20Photo%20Aretha%20Thurmond September 9th marks the beginning of the 2015 SFIA Industry Leaders Summit. Executives from all corners of the sports and fitness industries will come together in New Orleans at the historic Waldorf Astoria Hotel to connect over two days of networking opportunities, and seminar talks from notable industry innovators and corporate figures. During this time, SFIA will recognize some of the industry’s best up-and-coming executives that make up the 2015 class of SFIA’s Future Industry Leaders Scholarship program. These executives have displayed a potential to lead the industry forward for years to come through their executive talent, and vision for the future.

            SFIAinsider, in collaboration with the SFIA Weekly Newsletter, will be posting profiles of each of the five winners of this year’s competition. Winners will be recognized for their achievement during the summit. This edition highlights USATF’s Associate Director of International Teams, and accomplished US discus thrower, Aretha Thurmond.

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SFIA’s Busy Summer

After a long nap, the SFIAinsider blog is back in full-swing! Just in time too, with the 2014 SFIA Industry Leaders Summit (ILS) coming up in a couple weeks.  From the welcoming of new team members Kathy Mejasich (VP – Business Development) and John Peters (Manager – Membership & Business Development) to the announcement of the first-ever dedicated Sports Tech Marketplace at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) we’ve had a busy summer at SFIA.

The SFIA Industry Leaders Summit has become the can’t miss event for the sports and fitness industry as it provides a unique opportunity for executives to network with peers and gain insight into challenges that will face their brand. At this year’s event, we’re proud to honor the 2014 Class of Future Industry Leader Scholars. Even though it’s only year two, this program has gained some real traction within our industry. Next week, we plan on highlighting all five scholars on the SFIAinsider for the entire week, so stay tuned!

Park Proximity and Participation

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Over the past ten years, obesity has become an increasingly serious issue in America, and sports participation has suffered slightly as more Americans become inactive. Thankfully, the sports and fitness industry is one of the most resilient industry’s in the world and is perfectly capable of weathering a minor blip. As for the cause of this slow down, many are quick to point at the increased popularity of video games or the meteoric rise of Facebook, Twitter and the like. But regardless of what one may point at to be the true “cause” of the drop in sports participation and rise in obesity, we here at SFIA are constantly analyzing data for solutions. And we may have a new one for you….

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Made in America: Part 2

THE FINAL MIA(Click image to view in full-screen mode)

Made in America Series, Part 2: How it was Done

The above infographic was the ultimate goal of our Made in America project. It shows every SFIA member company that manufactures in the United States and where exactly those companies manufacture their products. In white states, there are no SFIA member companies manufacturing their products, in yellow states there is a single SFIA member company factory, in green states there are 2-3 SFIA member company factories, in light blue states there are 4-9 SFIA member company factories, and in our two navy blue states (Massachusetts and Illinois) there are over 10 SFIA member factories. Illinois leads the way with a whopping total of 14 factories alone. In total, we found 76 SFIA member companies that produced their products (or at least some of their products) here in America. All 76 of those companies can be seen in the above infographic. If you’re wondering how exactly we can to that number, we’re about to tell you.

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Why Start a SFIA Blog?

Here at the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, we have a lot on our minds. One day, our research shines light on an important trend in sports participation that we feel demands the attention of our industry. The next, we find a story on one of our members new innovations that promise to change the industry for years to come. Some days are focused on Capitol Hill as we work to increase funding for physical education in school or eliminate foreign counterfeit markets. On others, the “sports fanatic” inside of us comes alive as our office is captivated by an amazing play or underdog victory.

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Swimming for Fitness: An Increase in Participation

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Swimming for fitness is quickly growing in popularity in the United States among all people, young and old. According to SFIA’s “Topline” report, which summarizes and evaluates data on levels of activity within the United States, Swimming for Fitness has experienced growth in total, casual, and core levels of participation. Total participation, which encompasses anyone who has actively swam for fitness at least once in the previous year, rose from approximately 21,517,000 participants in 2011 to 23,216,000 participants in 2012, an impressive 7.9 percent increase in participation. This 1.7 million increase in participants is the largest increase out of all the sports that SFIA covers for 2012. Casual participation measures persons who have swum at least once but less than 49 times in the previous year. Casual participation rates showed 7.6 percent growth from 2011 to 2012, an increase from approximately 14,065,000 participants to 15,139,000 participants. The transition from casual to core participants highlights those truly dedicated to the sport. Core participants are those who have swam for fitness 50 or more times in the previous year. In 2011, approximately 7,453,000 people swam as a means of physical exercise, and in 2012 the number rose to 8,077,000, which marks an 8.4 percent increase in participation.

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