Feature Article - September/October 2017

Something Fun for Everyone

What's New in Rec & Sporting Goods Incentives?

By Emily Tipping

From Entry Level to Leveling Up

Speaking of growing enthusiasts, you should keep in mind that the level of experience among your participants in any given sport or activity could vary widely. Offering ways for newcomers to get started is important, as is providing ways for the more experienced to "level up."

There are a ton of recreational activities that appeal to people of all ages and skill levels. Fishing, bicycling and camping are three categories that have a really
wide-reaching audience.

"There are a ton of recreational activities that appeal to people of all ages and skill levels," Glamann said. "Fishing, bicycling and camping are three categories we see that have a really wide-reaching audience. Brands like Eagle Claw offer fishing kits perfect for the beginner, as well as sophisticated rod and reel combos for the experienced angler."

Whether for beginners or experienced players, said Chris Cavallari, global business director, Zero Friction, kits like this, which combine various items one needs for a favorite sport or pastime, are becoming more popular. "You create a greater value when you combine different things," he said. "It's not something you can find in the store. For example, for golfers, we provide balls, tees and gloves together as a kit. And those have been doing really well."

At the same time, Kooken added, no recreational activity or sport is at a standstill. Manufacturers are continually introducing something new, providing continual sources of new inspiration for participants who want to upgrade.

In golf, for example, " unless you really have some disposable income, you're not updating your clothes, your clubs, your bag and your shoes every year," Kooken said. "If you have the opportunity to upgrade, most people take that."

One way to upgrade, Cavallari said, is to jump on the new trend that incorporates analytics into your game. "There are watches that track your stats and a golf glove that'll track your swing," he said. "It has a great look and tracks your yardage, all your shots, how many times you were out of bounds and so on."

Technology, he said, is a big trend. As an example, Wilson has developed a connected football and basketball. Tools like this help people hone in on what they're doing right and wrong, enabling them to improve their game. "If you can identify specifically what it is you're not doing well and work on that," Cavallari said, "it'll make it more enjoyable in the long run."

Cycling is a great example of a sport and pastime that provides an easy entry for those just getting started, as well as many, many ways to upgrade for those who want to get more serious.

Cycling is a great example of a sport and pastime that provides an easy entry for those just getting started, as well as many, many ways to upgrade for those who want to get more serious.

For those who just want a simple, easy and fun cruise, the Schwinn Costing & Women's Perla 26-inch 7-Speed Classic Cruiser Bicycle, from Epic International, is a great option. These are classic cruisers with hand brakes, a spring seat for comfort and an upright riding position. The look is completed with coordinating fenders. The steel frame and fork construction ensures durability, while alloy linear pull brakes offer smooth stopping power. This bike features 26-inch cruiser whitewall tires with alloy rims, full fenders and a Schwinn® 7-speed rear derailleur with twist shifters. Wide cruiser handlebars and a Schwinn® wide cruiser seat with springs offer a comfortable ride. The Perla features a rear carrier for added convenience.

For those who want to step up their riding skills, there are many ways to roll. Road bikes, hybrid bikes and mountain bikes are all options for those who want to get a little more serious about their cycling.

For mountain bikers, the Titan Alpha 24, available through Bike USA, is a 24-speed full-suspension mountain bike—the perfect choice for ATB enthusiasts. It comes equipped with many upscaled components, including a 21.5-inch Alloy frame, Hualaifu suspension fork, double wall alloy rims and hubs, quick release stem and seat post, Shimano derailleur and Shimano alloy shifter set, and disc brakes.

For those who have everything they need, providing a new look can be inspiring, and there are plenty of options in this area, as well.

"The popularity of outdoor gear that favors a more tactical design and finish like backpacks and sling packs from Red Rock Outdoor Gear has surged in recent years," Glamann said. "These sporting bags have a variety of sizes and configurations and have a rugged 'tacti-cool' look that sets them apart from the crowd."

Another thing to keep in mind is that, well, gear wears out. People who love to hike will need new hiking boots. People who love to golf will need new tees, balls and gloves.

"There's a lot of replenishment," Cavallari said. And because golf gloves aren't terribly pricey items, many award recipients can eliminate painful decisions and get one of everything.

For example, he said, color is a big trend. There's plenty of white golf gloves. "What we have is in six colors, and we can put together a colorful kit of gloves, giving people something different and exciting."

For those who are looking to replace their gloves or just get a better pair than they had before, Zero Friction has partnered with Johnny Miller to create the revolutionary Motion-Fit glove. This glove offers the same universal fit technology along with a compression fit that molds to your hand for a guaranteed fit. The glove is made from a combination of Cabretta leather and spandex, which stretches and compresses to each hand for a taut fit, eliminating the friction caused from a loose or stretched glove, allowing for a greater feel, more comfort and better shot accuracy.