Feature Article - September/October 2013

One for All, And All for Fun

A Look at Recreation & Sporting Goods Incentives

By Emily Tipping

From Amateurs to Athletes

While wellness programs are a natural fit for recreation and sporting goods, there's no need to limit your use of these engaging products. Fitness and wellness are a common goal for people from every demographic, and you'll find that offering products to help them achieve their personal goals will motivate them to achieve for your organization as well.

"Because physical fitness and wellness is so popular right now," Knollenberg said, "fitness-related items can be part of just about any program."

You can even reach outside of recreation and sporting goods to provide further motivation for wellness enthusiasts.

"Some fitness-related products fit higher price points, and not every participant is able to reach levels to redeem from the higher-ticketed items," Knollenberg said, "so items like healthy cooking cookbooks, kitchen scales, like Escali from Top Brands, that not only weight the food but also offer nutrition tracking and bathroom scales that measure body fat, body water and muscle mass fit perfectly in the lower levels. Items can be bundled together to fit a variety of price points."

Cavallari said Wilson has been placing more training equipment into wellness programs over the past three years. "Previously we had more success with custom product with a company logo, but it seems like more of our customers have focused on wellness programs where product does not need a company logo," he said. "A good example of this would include our multi-sport net and pitching machines. Many people do not want to go out and buy these, but if they can earn points to get them, it's worth it."

Other options that suit wellness programs well might include pedometers and various technologies to help people keep track of their workouts, whether it's a walk around the block, a bike trip with the kids or a marathon. Indeed, Weaver said there has been a surge of interest in such options as bike computers or accessories for smartphones.

"I think people are getting into figuring out the data behind their ride," he explained. "How far they went, how many calories they burned. Apps like MapMyRide or MapMyRun have made an interesting addition to people's rides. You can see your top heart rate, calories burned, your speed—and now you're challenged to meet all these goals you set in your mind."

Of course, you can't forget the importance of workout apparel and the right pair of shoes. In this case, you can let participants pick for themselves by providing gift cards so they can get just the right fit.

An athletic specialty retailer such as Foot Locker can offer a broad selection of footwear and apparel to your audience. The Foot Locker Gift Card is available in a traditional plastic format, as well as a virtual e-card format in either U.S. or Canadian dollars. Cards can be redeemed in store at 2,000 U.S. locations or more than 150 Canadian locations, as well as online. The cards never expire, and there are never fees applied for non-use.

For champion performers, you can go with the Nike Gift Card, giving them the opportunity to shop Nike's complete collection of performance footwear, apparel and equipment. They also have the option of customizing their gear at NikeID.com. Nike Gift Cards are redeemable at NikeTown, NikeFactoryStores,

NikeWomen, NikeClearanceStores and NikeStore locations in the United States and Puerto Rico. They can also be used online at NikeStore.com and NikeID.com.

For fitness enthusiasts, provide exercise equipment. With the Bowflex SelectTech Dumbells, available through Rymax Marketing Services, you can save both space and time in your workout. A unique weight system lets the user adjust each dumbbell from 5 pounds to 52.5 pounds quickly, easily and safely. Simply rotate the dial to the desired weight, and the integrated tumblers automatically fasten at the intended place. In essence, this unique system condenses 30 separate barbells down to just two for a one-of-a-kind lifting experience.

Items that can support your participants in their favorite sport are another great option. Whether they're avid golfers or just want to help their kid build some soccer skills, they'll be eager to earn sporting goods.

Goalrilla Gamemaker Goals, available from Incentive Concepts, feature the authentic look and playability of a traditional soccer goal, while easily traveling from home to field to park or anywhere you want to play. Fortified by BaroForce technology, the soft, flexible PVC tubes are air-pressurized, creating a rigid goal structure that provides performance similar to a conventional goal, but is pliable enough to be completely safe in the event of goal-post-related collisions or goal-tipping incidents. The goals are available in five sizes to suit any player's needs.

There are plenty of other sports that you can help your participants gear up for, as well. And don't overlook all the ways items can be customized or personalized to meet the individual player's needs. Wilson, for example, offers "a custom baseball glove…where you can choose over 300 ways to customize your glove," Cavallari said.

Golfers are always looking for something to improve their game. With the Mack Daddy 2 Chrome Wedge from Callaway, available through Rymax Marketing Services Inc., you can embrace a Tour-tested design that provides more spin and versatility from any angle. These wedges provide even better control on the course thanks to a laser-milled micro groove surface. The club's chrome finish produces a smoky, muted look that helps reduce glare. Inspired by their most popular wedge on the professional circuit, each piece is available with custom sole grinds for enhanced performance.

Wilson's Premium Stand Bag features a 9-inch by 8-inch exclusive top, five-way top and two full length dividers. It has a built-in TPR handle, and the base stays flat to the ground. It has plenty of storage with eight pockets, one full-length garment pocket, one valuables pocket with waterproof zipper, two external pockets, one large ball pocket, one GPS/range finder sleeve and one insulated beverage sleeve. Extra features include a four-point attachment double strap, umbrella holder, large towel ring/glove holder and rain hood.

More often than not, of course, program participants will be redeeming points for smaller-scale items, and in this case, it's important to include a range of price points in your program. Golf balls and other accessories can provide a way to offer something to everyone.

"For Wilson, we have a few items that have been doing very well," Cavallari said. "Our new Wilson Staff Duo golf ball has been leading the charge. Our overall golf sales have increased substantially over the last year thanks to the success of this ball."