Feature Article - September/October 2018

Fun for All, and All for Fun!

Recreation and Sporting Goods Incentives

By Emily Tipping


So, tell me. What do you do for fun?

The answers to that question are as numerous as there are people to answer the question. Everyone finds ways to engage in recreation, and many people get involved in sports, either as spectators or participants, but our approaches and our enjoyments are unique.

Sure, some activities—walking and running, biking, backyard games—might attract more people than others. But there is a huge range of opportunities to play and get fit, both indoors and out.

This is one of the reasons recreation and sporting goods are such a great addition to any incentive and reward program. There is, quite literally, something for everyone. Rec and sporting goods give you the opportunity to cater to the aspirations of your individual program participants—giving them a chance to get involved in an activity they've never tried before or providing them an opportunity to gear up, whether that means buying their first-ever kayak or stepping up to a better bicycle.

"Probably the thing that drives the popularity of the rec and sporting goods category the most is the broad demographic appeal," explained Dennis Borst, president and COO of Patriot Marketing Group, which provides Foot Locker Gift Cards to the incentives market, in addition to its many other service offerings. "I think that what makes any reward successful, desirable and aspirational is that you have to cover a broad demographic. And with regard to sports and recreation, everyone is involved in something. You've got kids involved in sporting activities, grownups involved in exercise, and even the seniors. That broad demographic appeal is a key factor in putting together a successful rewards program."

Rec and sporting goods give you the opportunity to cater to the aspirations of your individual program participants—giving them a chance to get involved in an activity they've never tried before or providing them an opportunity to gear up, whether that means buying their first-ever kayak or stepping up to a better bicycle.

Creating the best mix of products means keeping one eye on the trends—but there are other things to keep in mind, with this area of the market. Some sports and activities are more seasonal than others. And while there might not be very high participation rates for some sports and recreational activities, providing enthusiasts with access to some of the best equipment to help them improve their capabilities is a surefire way to win their loyalty and commitment.

Keep Your Cool

Many industry experts seem to agree that some of the most popular products in this area right now include insulated bottles and coolers that can keep cold items cold longer.

"We're seeing a lot of these being used for outdoor activities and outdoor events," said Scott Kooken, president, Links Unlimited. "Insulated bottles like Hydro Flasks, S'well and Camelbak—a lot of times when people ask about recreation, we put these in that category. They're great for camping and sporting events, and are a growing category for us."

As a bonus, it is simple to add logos to these products, making them a great fit for all kinds of programs.

The same goes for insulated, rotomolded coolers, Kooken added. "Grizzly, Yeti and Kysek coolers can keep ice cold for 36 to 48 hours, and are a very popular category right now."

The coolers are a perfect fit for a huge range of activities, from a simple backyard party to a camping trip or a day spent tailgating before the big game.

The Coleman 55-Quart and 85-Quart Heavy-Duty Super Coolers are designed for the rough and wild, be it a fishing expedition on the high seas or an epic camping trip in the wilderness. UVGuard material protects it from the sun's damaging rays, and integrated corrosion-resistant hinges and catch-free recessed rubber latches secure the antimicrobial liner in a virtually indestructible outer shell. In fact, once you slip a padlock into the lock slot, this chest is certified to resist even hungry grizzly bears. Thick insulation up to 2.5 inches and a tight-fitting gasket seal around the lid mean your cooler will keep food or the day's catch cold and will retain ice for seven days at temperatures up to 90 degrees. Nonskid feet ensure your cooler stays where you want it, and tie-down points give you the option to secure the cooler to, say, your boat deck while leaving the lid free to open and close. When it's time to pack up, extended-length rope handles with durable soft-touch grips make carrying comfortable. This tough, American-made cooler doesn't just survive rough conditions—it thrives in them. Available in White, Red and Dusk.

Spectators at the game will enjoy additional products, not only for tailgating but binoculars for watching and more.

Action happens fast, whether you're at the soccer field or the stadium. Bushnell® Spectator® Sport binoculars are designed to see it all. The binoculars are ready right out of the box, thanks to patented PermaFocus™ technology that brings distant objects close with no adjustments necessary. The rugged rubber armor housing is waterproof, handling rain delays with ease and protecting lenses that produce bright, crisp, in-focus images every time. Catch the next play and never miss another important moment.