Feature Article - September/October 2019

All Together Now

Motivate With Recreation & Sporting Goods Incentives

By Emily Tipping


"Sports and recreation items have always been a solid incentive with their inherent 'feel good' value. We all work more hours, and have less time off, so those times we do have, we look to really capitalize on the experience."

So says Warren Weaver, director of national sales for Zane's Inc., nicely summing up the reason rec and sporting goods can make such a powerful motivational item to incorporate in incentive, rewards and recognition programs.

While we all might enjoy our time off a little differently, nearly everyone can be enticed by some offering in this category.

"It is the wide demographic appeal that makes sporting apparel and products a valued incentive product," agreed Dennis Borst, president and COO, Foot Locker Gift Card Sales. "Participation in sporting and exercise activity is so widespread these days, people clamor not only for footwear and apparel, but also the equipment and accessories needed to participate."

What's more, added Megan Shea, director of loyalty, Links Unlimited, "It's a great category for incentives and rewards because it hits so many different price points. Some people don't want to spend a few hundred dollars on items such as the newest golf driver, fitness watch or tent, so instead they can redeem for these items in programs. However, it also has great options in lower price points, including workout accessories like gym bags and yoga mats."

Top items Shea cited in the category cover that wide range of demographics and price points—everything from indoor exercise equipment to tents for camping, activity watches for keeping track of fitness to golf balls.

Tee Up the Motivation

The game of golf offers one of those great price point (golf balls to incredible clubs and other gear) and demographic (the people who love golf, love golf) opportunities. In this category, offer anything from balls and gloves to rangefinders, clubs, drivers and more.

Nikon's COOLSHOT PRO STABILIZED eliminates 80% of hand movement during high-stress moments to range more confidently at longer distances than ever before. It integrates an all-new red OLED display that will adjust brightness accordingly for the surrounding ambient light, and its new LOCKED ON Technology green circle display visually confirms that your measurement is to the flag. Whether you are an experienced golfer or just beginning, Nikon's COOLSHOT PRO STABILIZED will help you improve your game by allowing you to focus on making each shot count.

The Bushnell Pro XE Laser Rangefinder features compensated "Elements" (slope + barometric pressure + temperature) play as distances and a new improved algorithm with % Slope. Other features include: PinSeeker with Visual JOLT Technology; ranges of 5 to 1,300 yards; built-in BITE magnetic cart mount; rubber armored metal housing; IPx7 fully waterproof; 7x magnification; and more.

In order to feel great on the course, you need to look great. The Zero Friction premium Cabretta Elite golf glove offers supple cabretta leather combined with cool mesh for exceptional breathability. Not sure what size to get? Not to worry: Zero Friction is the leader in compression-fit technology. This glove is guaranteed to fit sizes from small to XXL.

Take the Motivation Outside

From hiking and birdwatching to camping and more, the great outdoors offer many opportunities for motivation.

From Nikon, the compact Trailblazer ATB™ (All Terrain Binocular) is sleek and lightweight, fully waterproof and fogproof, offering high value and function in an affordable, pocket-sized binocular. It is available in 8x25 and 10x25, and incorporates Nikon's exclusive Eco-Glass (made without arsenic or lead) for all lens and prism elements. Multiple layers of anti-reflective compounds offer crisp, sharp viewing. Ergonomic styling, mated with a rubber armored exterior, provides added shock resistance and a firm grip, wet or dry.

The Coleman 6-Person Dark Room Fast Pitch Dome Tent with Screen Room blocks 90% of sunlight so families can put kids to bed early and festival-goers can sleep in past sunrise. A separate floored screen room offers bug-free lounging, extra ventilation and added sleeping space on warm, dry nights. If it does rain, this tent is guaranteed to keep you dry thanks to the WeatherTec system, which uses a tub floor with patented corner welds and protected seams to keep water out. Additionally, extended awnings over the windows allow for improved air circulation without letting in rain.

Frustrated by flimsy chairs with fabric that tears and frames that break, YETI created the most durable and comfortable piece of outdoor furniture on the market. The YETI Hondo Base Camp Chair, available through Premco is built to last season after season and keep sitters supported 'til the fire dies or the stories run out—whichever comes first.

Motivation on Road or Trail

Biking continues to boom in popularity, from commuters getting to and from the job to families enjoying a slow Sunday ride to those who just want a good workout. Opportunities to motivate—and nice options for experienced and inexperienced bikers alike—mean this category is a surefire winner in your program.

"We are finally seeing electric bikes really take hold in the marketplace," Weaver said. "Retailers are seeing significant sales in this category." While the category is still in its infancy, he added, "it is well on its way to being an accepted and affordable form of transportation and recreation."

With their first sub-$1,500 offering in the category, Zane's Inc. has seen great early response to the Electra Townie Go! 8D Men's electric bike, which features a PowerPack 400 battery and 2 AMP charger that allows for quick and easy charging. The Bosch active motor is super quiet and provides the perfect amount of assistance, and the Tektro mechanical disc brakes provide great stopping power. Featuring premium components, such as a 6061-T6 aluminum frame, 8-speed SRAM PG-820 drivetrain and Shimano Acera Rapid Fire Plus shifters.

A simple bike that's ideal for relaxed, enjoyable rides, the Schwinn 26-inch Men's Gammon, available through Epic International, features a retro-style spring saddle and swept-back handlebars. They all come together to create a comfortable upright riding position. Features include new Schwinn steel men's 26-inch cruiser frame and fork, classic cruiser handlebar, rear coaster brake, Schwinn quality cruiser spring saddle, fenders for convenient riding in all weather, and swept-back handlebars for upright riding position.

Motivation to Spectate, Play & Get Fit

When it comes to sporting goods and fitness gear, Borst said, "Product availability has changed drastically over the past five years.

"When it comes to footwear, there are now styles specific to every activity and exercise type people participate in," he added. "Whether it is sports, walking, running or cross-training, there is footwear designed and available for that specific activity. With that, people now own different footwear for every activity, including casual wear." He added that athletic and workout wear, which once appealed to a fairly specific demographic, now crosses all generations.

Serving that need, Foot Locker, Champs Sports and Eastbay are the world's largest athletic specialty retailers, offering a broad selection of brand-name footwear, apparel, sports equipment, uniforms and fan gear. Gift cards are interchangeably redeemable at Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Champs Sports and Eastbay. Foot Locker and Champs Sports gift cards are available in traditional plastic format, as well as virtual e-card format, and are redeemable in-store and online. Eastbay cards are available in both plastic and e-card formats, and are redeemable online only.

Getting fit requires the right gear. The evolution of the Jaybird Run XT Tru Wireless Headphones, available through Links Unlimited, makes them fully sweat and waterproof (IPX7). Combining a streamlined, ultra-comfortable fit with premium sound, the RUN XT headphones feature a lightweight design and enhanced Bluetooth performance for passionate runners in pursuit of their limits. The rechargeable battery offer four hours of playtime with eight hours of recharging in the case.

Available exclusively through Rymax, the Gaiam Yoga Kit Bundle is perfect for the aspiring yogi. The beautifully designed mat features a guide for hand and feet placement, while the yoga block offers support and balance as you learn to master poses. A convenient strap is also included, allowing you to increase your range of motion and develop flexibility. Take a break and cool off afterward as you foam roll to loosen tight muscles.

When you're ready to take a break from fitness and watch your favorite team you need the right gear. YETI listened to its customers and now offers its first-ever cooler on wheels. The YETI Tundra Haul, available through Premco, is the answer to taking Tundra's legendary toughness and unmatched insulation power the extra mile. And nothing was sacrificed in the making of this cold-holding powerhouse, ensuring the Haul lives up to the Tundra name.

The answer to perfectly grilled food, the Weber® iGrill® 2 App-Connected Thermometer allows you to monitor the doneness of up to four cuts of meat from beginning to end, and notifies you on your smart device once food has reached the perfect temperature to serve. Check the progress at any time from your smart device, and explore all of the Weber® iGrill® App benefits that will make every grilling adventure flawless. Whether you're a seasoned grill master or just beginning, it has never been easier to execute the perfect meal.

Finally, when you're ready for some fun, spice up the ultimate outdoor social game with your own customized bag toss game set. Available through Incentive Concepts, the Escalade Sports Tailgate Custom Regulation 2x4 Bag Toss Set includes two high-quality, heavy-duty 24-by-48-inch tournament-grade, regulation-sized boards with folding legs and complete bag set. Created with cabinet-grade birch and premium hardware, no detail has been overlooked on this durable board set. The boards can be customized with your company's colors or logo. This set is perfect for a backyard get-together with family and friends.

And that's what it's all about. Motivating folks with the equipment and products needed to have a good time, together.