LA JOLLA, CA - June 24, 2002 - Tapping into the minds of sports participants holds major marketing potential for corporations with sights on the active lifestyle market. Yet, with statistics revealing that 88 million adult Americans participate in sports on a weekly basis, little else is known about specific likes, dislikes, habits and behavior. That will change through a new collaboration between The Active Network - a company that boasts the largest online database of participatory sports events and represents a major source of services for recreational athletes - and the Leisure Intelligence Group, whose founder, Richard Luker, Ph.D. has been the driving force behind the advancement of intelligence on American sport and leisure activity. The collaboration will produce groundbreaking, in-depth research on the active lifestyle consumer, providing new insight for companies launching grassroots marketing programs and a world of product opportunities for athletes.
"Existing data has really just scratched the surface of the active American audience. By tapping into the habits and behaviors of this market, we'll discover an exciting picture that will offer enormous opportunity for marketers and athletes," explained Luker. "The Active Network is the most popular destination for participatory athletes. Each week, more than 40,000 athletes register for events on the company's Web site, Active.com. The company's online properties also generate 60 million page views each month. This represents a significant data source on the active American."
After analyzing behavior on The Active Network's Web site and registration statistics, the Leisure Intelligence Group and The Active Network plan to have an initial snapshot of the active lifestyle consumer within a few months. Additional data will also be gathered, by permission only, from athletes. Data will cover specific sports played and why; how active Americans participate in their sport; diet or training secrets; daily or weekly regimen; how sports are balanced with an 8-5 routine; and other sport and leisure choices by active consumers.
For manufacturers like Unilever, one of the largest global consumer products corporations in the world, and Timex, the industry leader in sports watches, understanding the active lifestyle market is critical.
"Ragu Express is an ideal food for active/busy teens and families. By teaming up with companies that are integrated into the lives of these consumers, like The Active Network, we are better able to reach them with a meaningful, targeted message. Unilever and The Active Network are executing an eight-month, extensive, soccer grassroots marketing program. We entered the relationship because we recognized that The Active Network has its finger on the pulse of youth soccer. Additionally, Active has been able to connect us with other partners with like goals," said Unilever's Robyn Rothke, brand manager for Ragu Express.
Timex has also turned to The Active Network to promote its new time and distance product among runners, triathletes and cyclists. Explained Bernie Freeman, vice president of marketing for The Active Network, and head of the company's grassroots marketing and sponsorship property, The Active Sports Marketing Group, "We want to find out what makes active people tick. Our research will give us the opportunity to leverage key consumer insights that no one else in the industry has access to. The active lifestyle consumer is a rich brand target and we intend to be at the forefront in both understanding this consumer and developing marketing programs that allow our clients to effectively reach this audience."
Through its online properties Active.com (www.active.com) and eteamz (www.eteamz.com), The Active Network is a daily destination for Americans participating in up to 80 different sports. The company processes more than one million transactions a year for sports event registrations, and maintains an online database of more than 50,000 events, from 5K races and triathlons to inline skating and snowshoeing. The company also maintains contact with its participants through weekly newsletters and brief polls.
The Leisure Intelligence Group brings deep experience studying the leisure market. Luker created the ESPN Sports Poll in 1994, which provided the first source of general intelligence on sports fan and participation interests and activities in America. After seeing a need for further data on America's participation with sports and entertainment, Luker started the Leisure Intelligence Group. As the central resource for finding the best data and services related to leisure intelligence, the company doesn't typically sell data directly. The Leisure Intelligence Group gathers and tracks data across the entire leisure spectrum to maintain a current and aggregate sense of the state of leisure in America. The company also works with research vendors and data suppliers to integrate their tools into the new leisure domain.
The Active Sports Marketing Group
The Active Sports Marketing Group (ASMG), a property of The Active Network (www.theactivenetwork.com), provides the most effective channel for businesses to reach athletes at the grassroots level. ASMG's targeted online and offline integrated marketing packages help companies reach the active lifestyle market. ASMG (www.theasmg.com) represents a wealth of successful media properties on Active.com (www.active.com) and eteamz (www.eteamz.com), two core Web properties of The Active Network, and also leverages the sites' unique relationships with thousands of event, league and recreation professionals to deliver targeted marketing messages to tens of thousands of athletes onsite at their "point of sweat."
Leisure Intelligence Group
The Leisure Intelligence Group was created to provide "one stop" access to a very broad and up-to-date array of intelligence and services on how Americans spend their free time and discretionary income. The foundation of the Leisure Intelligence Group is built on sports fan and participation. However, the company's Founder and President, Richard Luker, created the Leisure Intelligence Group to respond to very clear changes in how Americans have fun. While sports is still the largest leisure component, sports marketers are finding more and more competition for time and resources from other leisure sources. The company provides clients insight on the competitive arena and helps determine the best leisure options; how to position these options within the context of other choices; and where to get the strongest data and services to support their strategic plans. For more information, call Brooke Jolman at 734-222-4016.
Unilever (NYSE: UN - News, UL - News) is one of the world's largest consumer products companies with annual sales of approximately $49 billion in 2001. The company produces and markets a wide range of foods and home and personal care products. Unilever operates in 88 countries around the globe and employs approximately 279,000 people. In the United States, Unilever sales were approximately $11 billion in 2001. It employs some 17,800 people and has 67 offices and manufacturing sites in 23 states. The business comprises: Foods: Lipton teas, recipe products and side dishes; Wish-Bone salad dressings; Lawry's seasonings; Country Crock and "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!" spreads; Ragu pasta sauces; Knorr soups, sauces and bouillons; Hellmann's mayonnaise; Skippy peanut butter; Bertolli olive oil; Good Humor-Breyers and Ben & Jerry's ice cream; and Slim-Fast nutritional and health snack products. Home and Personal Care: Wisk, "all" and Surf laundry detergents; Snuggle fabric softener; Sunlight dish detergents; Lever 2000, Caress, Dove, Degree, Pond's and Vaseline skin care, deodorant and soap products; Q-tips cotton swabs; Mentadent oral care products; Finesse, Salon Selectives, Suave and ThermaSilk hair care products; and Calvin Klein, Nautica and Lagerfeld cosmetic and fragrance products.