As we move towards the end of a year unlike any other, I hope you, your
family and your colleagues are safe and well.
I write to thank you for your membership and investment in the Sports
& Fitness Industry Association. We recognize that the disruptions
raised by the COVID-19 pandemic hit the very heart of our country, our
industry and very likely your company, as they did to SFIA. At the same
time, we are reinforced by the innovative spirit that pulses throughout
the sports and fitness products business.
In 2020, the SFIA committed to reflect that same positive approach by:
- Providing direct
assistance in navigating the government’s COVID relief efforts
multiple, free webinars on quickly evolving Economic Injury Disaster
Loans (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Programs (PPP)
personalized guidance to specific concerns
- Developing a
detailed COVID Resource Guide to consolidate reliable resources and
the year we leveraged SFIA’s longtime expertise in public affairs and
research to focus on solutions targeted to our industry. The SFIA actively:
- Lobbied several
COVID relief bills, including those designed to directly help the
footwear, apparel and consumer goods sectors
- Joined with
hundreds of our partners to highlight the needs of youth sports
organizations in delivering quality sport experiences to children
across the country
- Called for the
opening of fitness facilities
- Continued to
push for passage of the PHIT Act, making sport and fitness more
- Created 3
COVID-specific reports, providing real time data from industry
executives and economic analysts
- Expanded our
partnership with The NPD Group to include COVID assessments in
SFIA’s weekly newsletter, COVID-19 Resource Guide and webinars
2020 was about more than just COVID relief. It was also about recovery
and re-invention, and ultimately resurgence for many sectors of our
- SFIA Research
published 5 major business intelligence reports and 89 single sport
- Our international
trade efforts saved our members more than $48 million in tariff
- SFIA hosted more
than 10 industry council meetings to allow our members to
collectively address unique challenges to their sport and business
- We continued to
lead and represent more than 50 member companies engaged in a
variety of product standards and compliance organizations.
note, SFIA hosted our first-ever virtual industry conference, “Back on
Track: Insights and Strategies.” The September event drew more than 400
registrants to hear top executives from PUMA, adidas, NHL, Walmart,
Champion and globally-recognized analyst, McKinsey & Company. Perhaps
most exciting, we established new education and networking opportunities
through interactive roundtables. Encouraging attendees to exchange ideas
and insights openly, the “Back on Track” conference reinforced the benefit
of this type of online engagement. We are now exploring other
opportunities to increase online engagement in the new year.
Included below, you will find a brief description of the many programs
SFIA embarked on in 2020 to support your investment in the trade
association. As always, I urge you and your colleagues to maximize the
SFIA products and services. And if there is something you would like us
to do, please contact us. We work for you.
On behalf of the SFIA Board of Directors, and the entire SFIA team, I
wish you happy and safe holidays and a prosperous 2021.
Tom Cove | President and CEO
Sports & Fitness Industry
301.495.6321 | @TheSFIA
Industry & Public Affairs
The authoritative voice on Capitol Hill for
the sports & fitness industry
guidance on financial assistance available to the industry via
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans
- Joined footwear,
apparel and consumer goods interests in request for a short-term
government funding program to create cash-flow for businesses
struggling during pandemic.
- Sought expansion
of PPP program to 501(c)6 non-profits and youth sports
- Saved industry
up to $48.5 million in annual tariffs via the Miscellaneous Tariff
Bill (MTB). SFIA had 95 percent of its (MTB) petitions for relief
approved (56 of 59).
- The USTR
approved List 4A exclusion requests for certain protective headgear,
swim masks and fitness equipment. The overall success rate for List
3 & 4A was 3.5 percent - a 90 percent drop from 35 percent
success rate for List 1 & 2.
- Opposed U.S.
tariff policy via the Americans for Free Trade collaborative
- SFIA continued
pressing for extension of the Generalized System of Preferences
(GSP) tariff relief program set to expire at the end of the year.
GSP provides duty free entry for products made in GSP eligible
- Secured more
than 100 cosponsors for the PHIT Act prior to COVID impacting
- PHIT considered
for COVID relief as consumer-driven economic stimulus to improve
letter, signed by 4,000 organizations, requesting inclusion of PHIT
in COVID relief package.
- Held virtual
advocacy campaign to promote PHIT inclusion in COVID relief.
- Served as board
member for Congressional football and baseball games.
- SFIA supported
legislation to ensure proper diagnosis, treatment and return-to-play
protocols for student athletes.
Delivering exceptional education
and strengthening industry community
- Hosted SFIA's
first-ever virtual conference, attracting 400+ attendees from 173
different companies, under the theme, Back on Track: Insights &
Strategies. The event featured speakers from PUMA North America,
McKinsey & Company, NFL, Walmart, Hanesbrands and Technogym, as
well as numerous major sports brands, retailers and The NPD Group,
discussing topics such as diversity, youth sports return to play,
industry trends, retail environment, & consumer behavior.
- Hosted 5
interactive discussions at the Back on Track virtual event,
highlighting return to play for youth sports, the reopening of gyms
and fitness facilities, diversity in the workplace, tariffs, and
return to work HR issues, allowing for all attendees to freely
discuss and share thoughts, concerns and questions among peers and
- The Back on
Track conference featured 10 exhibitors: Augusta Sportswear Brands,
Engineering Systems Inc., Exponent, FlipGive, OpSec Security, RW Baird,
Sports Marketing Surveys, SURYS Inc., SymGym and The NPD Group.
- Hosted 25
webinars in 2020, garnering audiences of over 500 attendees,
covering various pressing industry topics, such as legal issues,
tariffs, sports participation trends, ecommerce and much more.
- Hosted 10-part
Coronavirus Webinar Series, inviting experts to answer questions and
discuss pertinent subjects related to the pandemic: small business
financial aid, HR issues, contract and insurance coverage, COVID
impact on youth sports, and more.
attendance (on average) is up 131 percent compared to 2019.
Providing information and insight to drive
industry decision making
- Created 3
COVID-19 specific research reports to help the industry further
understand the far-reaching effects of the pandemic.
- SFIA has been
recognized as a leading expert on sport & fitness in a
COVID-world, with SFIA research and programs frequently cited in
major news outlets, including Washington Post, Wall Street Journal,
New York Times, Bloomberg, Forbes, WWD, USA Today, MLB, Associated
Press, Axios and many more.
partnership with The NPD Group, which allowed SFIA to include NPD
COVID-19 data and insights in our weekly newsletter and COVID-19
- Released 5 major
research reports available to SFIA members at no cost.
- Published 89
single sport reports, which help members analyze sports
participation. Single Sport Reports break down the participation
figures by gender, age group, income level, geographic region and
partnership with The Aspen Institute's Project Play initiative. SFIA
participation and coaching data are used as a benchmark to track
success of the initiative.
- Provided data
and report insights to member companies to assist R&D.
Providing a robust menu of member resources,
including dedicated sports councils to address specific challenges
- Created SFIA
COVID-19 Resource Guide to assist the industry in a time of
crisis, providing a curation of vetted, reliable, educational and
informative resources to help members of the industry obtain
financial aid, keep a pulse on the state of the industry, and address
state and federal guidelines for work and play.
- Hosted council
meetings for Baseball/Softball, Football, Soccer, Lacrosse &
Golf. Manufacturers, governing bodies and industry coalitions
discussed the current landscape of the sport, product standards and
how all parties involved can work together to grow the sport.
- In 2020, SFIA
welcomed 18 new member companies to its community.
customized State of the Industry presentations at more than 5 member
companies’ sales and strategy meetings.
- Industry crisis
management: addressed industry media and government policies on the
decline in sports participation trends, increased regulation on
product safety and allegations of deceptive marketing/advertising.
partnership with Good Sports to provide an excess inventory solution
for our members, while providing support to kids in under-served
communities and giving them the opportunity to be equipped for
sports and physical activity. Since the pandemic began, SFIA members
have contributed to the $4.1 million in new sports equipment,
apparel and footwear that Good Sports has distributed nationwide
over the past several months.
Standards and Compliance
SFIA works cooperatively with certification
and testing bodies like ASTM, NOCSAE and all sport governing bodies to
create equitable and effective standards for sports equipment
- Continued to
update and improve the test procedures for the NOCSAE Commotio
Cordis standard. We successfully recommended changes that eliminated
2 of the 3 load cells in the test surrogate, providing more accurate
test readings and reduced testing cost.
- In response to
increasing testing costs, SFIA continues to aggressively lead
conversations with ASTM, NOCSAE, Safety Equipment Institute (SEI),
the NFHS, NCAA, USA Baseball, US Lacrosse, USA Softball, various
testing labs and NFL/Biocore on behalf of manufacturers/brands.
- 25 companies
participated in the SFIA Football Glove Program. In the 5th year of
the program, we are covering 100% of the football glove
- SFIA led and
continues to manage the creation of an industry task group through
ASTM to develop a standard for a defensive face mask for women’s
- SFIA worked with
the National Federation of High Schools and US Lacrosse to
reinstitute a women’s lacrosse eye protection standard, saving the
industry millions of dollars of inventory markdowns.
- SFIA maintains
relationships with numerous governing bodies and standards setting
organizations including US Lacrosse, NFHS, NCAA, USA Baseball,
Little League, AFCA, ABCA, USSA, ASA, ASTM, CPSC and NOCSAE.
- Gregg Hartley
(SFIA representative) is one of two NOCSAE Vice Presidents and
continues to represent the industry on the NOCSAE Board of
SFIA would like to thank its Corporate Partners for their support in
Corporate partners support the
quality research, thought leadership training and networking that SFIA
provides for members. Learn more about each partner and how they can
deliver value to your company.
Sport-Specific Council Meetings
Baseball & Softball Council Meeting
SFIA Contact: Gregg Hartley
Virtual: 1:00 - 3:00 PM (EST)
SFIA Contact: Gregg Hartley
SFIA Contact: Gregg Hartley
Council (SICA) Meeting
SFIA Contact: Alex Kerman
USGMC, Golf Council
SFIA Contact: Bill Sells