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I am an experienced direct marketer who is now perusing a graduate degree in Entertainment Business with a concentration in Sports Management and a master's degree in Internet Marketing.  One day soon I will be a Director of Social Media Marketing for a major sports organization.   I am avid runner who in the next 6 months will run at 2 full marathons and 3 half marathons and that doesn't include the training runs. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Happy Anniversary Title IX

If there was ever a law with so little words that made a huge impact it was Title IX.  The 37-word law turns 40 this week and women everywhere are celebrating.  The legislation called the 1972 Education Amendment, Title IX was simple “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance”. But a simple law made a huge impact in classroom, colleges, and boardrooms and in women’s confidence everywhere.  Since the legislation went into place women playing high school and college sports has jump 1,000 percent.  That said there are still issues and impacts of the law those needs to be addressed. 
When the conversation of pay for play comes up in college sports, Title IX benefits both women sports as well as men’s sports. In short Title IX ensures gender equality in college sports, but also will help smaller men’s programs like wrestling and lacrosse from being excluded from a pay for play system. As Mechelle Voepel describes in a 2011 ESPN article “there is no viable end-around Title IX to allow schools to pay only those athletes who are in a profitable sport, which generally are football and men’s basketball.” A court would rule that all sports, regardless of size, popularity, or revenue source for the university, would need to be a part of the pay for play system.

Sadly the playing field is still not equal 40 years later.  How many stories have you heard about a high school or college building a new state of the art complex and forgetting the girl’s softball field or a girl’s locker room?  In a summit held at the White House this week, Olympic gold medalist in women’s soccer, Julie Foudy, told the story of when she and fellow teammates planned the first Women’s World Cup tournament and were told to book stadiums that held no more than 5,000 fans and only on the East Coast because the women’s game had limited regional appeal.  To her and everyone else surprised they opened in a packed 80,000-seat Giants Stadium to a standing ovation.  A great sign of how far women sports and women in sports have come.
As a woman who wants to merge herself into a career in sports and in an industry that now has close to 60 percent of participants who are women runners, I say “Happy Anniversary, Title IX”, thank you President Nixon for the wonderful future you made for women like me everywhere. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Women’s Running and The Competitor Group Team Up for Fitness

It was announced last week that Competitor Group Inc. had made another in a series of acquisitions.  This time acquiring Women’s Running Magazine and the Lady Speed Stick Half Marathon Series.  Many of you may know the founder of these two organizations as well as WomenRunning.com, Dawn Stone.  Dawn was the 2005 winner of the Martha Stewart version of The Apprentice.  At the time Dawn was the founder and publisher of Her Sports Magazine, the only magazine dedicated to women’s running. 

Dawn Stone was a pioneer in the marketing to women runners.  In 2009, she launched a half marathon in her hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida.  One that was marketed with one of the best “goody bags” in the industry and a revolutionary medal that provide participants that opportunity to take a part of it to wear daily to show off their accomplishments.   The Women’s Running Half Marathon is now a 4 event series held across the country with a new recently named head sponsor, Lady Speed Stick. 

So what might a mega event holder like Competitor Group, Inc. need with a women’s half marathon when it also runs all of the Rock n’ Roll Marathon and Half Marathon events?  Well it’s actually a good fit given Competitor Group’s current publishing background and ability to show how they have expanded the Rock n’ Roll series.  With over 50,000 runners in just the 3, short, years that the Women’s Running Half Marathon series has been in existence, the series is set for great growth and Competitor Group can take this into the hundreds of thousands as well as international expansion.  With the continued growth in women running the market isn’t taking a turn for the worse anytime soon.

With this acquisition, it doesn’t appear that Competitor Group, Inc. will slow down their acquisitions anytime soon.  They don’t stop finding niches were they can input themselves in.  The question is will the dedicated runner continue to find events run by the mega endurance organizer a continued draw for their running funds.  In October I’ll get to see for the first time what makes this group so great that Dawn Stone would partner up with them.  Only time will tell what impact this partnership will have on women’s running.  As a runner I hope this works out to my advantage and the magazine, website and the running series grow even better.