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Feature Article - October 2009

At the Forefront of Fun

Up-and-Coming Sports to Expand Your Offerings

By Jessica Royer Ocken


W

hether it's all those "staycations" we've been taking or the oft-repeated message that we need to get healthier, something is calling Americans out to play. The 2009 Sports & Fitness Participation Report from the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) indicates that across the country, people are hitting the gym or the links or the pool or the court or the trail in increasing numbers.

And with so many people playing—kids and adults alike—the range of games and pastimes being pursued has expanded. But you can keep current on the fun without constructing an entire new facility. Many of these newfangled (or at least new to your community) activities can be played using the fields and courts and trails and pool you already have.

Not sure you need to add anything to your agenda? Consider this: Expanding your program offerings beyond the basics can help you tap untouched segments of your community and bring new patrons through your doors. Introducing emerging sports, many of which have things in common with the programs you already offer, can provide a natural next step for kids or adults seeking a fresh challenge. You'll keep them coming back, rather than watch them drift away.

The real question is determining what to add. Do you live in a town aching to play ultimate or ready to step up to the cricket wicket? Are there cyclists or lacrosse players in them there hills? As always, the members of your community are your best source for inspiration (ask them what they'd like!), but below you'll find some further details from the SGMA report and a look at some of the offbeat endeavors catching on around the nation. And don't worry, although these activities may be new to you, they've already established a following, which means there are resources available and experts you can call on, or perhaps even partner with. Read on!

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