Skateboarderpro Takes On The Online Skateboard Biz

The last few years, say over the last 10, the business revolving around the “skate culture” has exploded. A couple years ago I attended an ASR conference in San Diego and was blown away by the sheer volume of industry that has built itself up around the remains of the 80′s skateboard revival. It’s the third coming of the skate industry as the phoenix has indeed risen and there is no stopping this juggernaut. Hard goods, soft goods, you name it, there were hundreds of exhibitors, many with giant brand recognition all vying for a slice of this huge lucrative skate culture market.

The whole conference was just dripping with “hipness” I was beginning to get self-conscious that I wasn’t cool enough as it was dawning on me the huge opportunity available to so many different segments. Lots of stash is definitely being made. Skateboarding is not just for kids, it’s a major cultural movement with a huge periphery. It’s not just about selling skateboard hardware; decks wheels etc. It’s selling an entire culture now…and it’s selling like hotcakes.

I was down at the conference with a good friend who owns a small skateboard manufacturing company and I was along to help a bit on the marketing and to try to raise the company’s profile a bit. Like a lot of other industries, the skateboard business has evolved into a distribution pipeline that is rather strictly controlled by a few established companies that supply all the major product. If you’re a retailer, you need these guys bad because they’ve got the gear the buying public wants. If you’re an upstart retailer it can be almost impossible to get the key products because another more established retailer in your area has the deal with the distributor. So a good deal of smaller retailers languish trying to flog unknown product, and the sad thing is that in many cases, this unknown product may be just as good or exceed the quality of the name brands.

This is where my friend’s dilemma comes in; he’s a manufacturer trying to get distribution. Up until now, he’s been flogging his own stuff the best he can by dealing direct with smaller retailers in his home territory. But with North American manufacturing costs being what they are and being forced to compete with cheaper made chinese product that the dominant distributors flood the market with he’s seeing his profits dwindle. At this point now, in order for him to succeed he needs wider distribution. He needs to be in stores all over North America and most importantly, he needs Internet distribution.

When I look around at the retailers on the Internet, there are some very cool sites, some with brick and mortar realities, but more that are strictly online ventures. Nevertheless, they almost all fall prey to the distributors. Not every shop has every big name product. For example, if distributor A has big name X & Y, and he’s your supplier, if your customer wants product Z, which just happens to be distributor B’s major line, that customer is going to another shop and there’s not much you as the retailer can do because you’re never going to get product Z as long as you sell X & Y from your guy. In some industries this is not such a problem because one product can be just as good quality-wise as the next and the customer base is not so brand fixated. But in the skate biz brand and image are kings and they come a dime a dozen. With slews of competing products, highly geared for brand recognition, quality is almost a secondary concern with most of the kids consuming these products. The skateboard consumer wants the latest and the greatest and who lets them know what these products are? Enter the skateboard pro. The professionals in the sport today are truly amazing athletes, defying fear and gravity to perform sometimes unbelievably complex and technical maneuvers. Look for skateboarding coming to an Olympics near you very soon, no joke.

This sport has gained major credibility over the last decade. Read credibility as ‘ka ching’ factor. Flip through the pages of one of the many mainstream skateboard magazines and you’ll have a hard time finding the articles hidden beneath all the advertising. And just like many other tournament based sports, these young pros are making their money with endorsements. Younguns like Ryan Sheckler, Paul Rodriguez, Terry Kennedy, and Rob Dyrdek are hoovering up large dollars wearing their sponsor’s clothes, and riding their sponsor’s equipment. These skateboard pros are living, breathing billboards for the clamoring skateboard consumer base, which is now almost a world wide market.

With so many “name” products out there and companies changing skate pros like underwear there seems to be a couple of interesting opportunities here. Enter Skateboarderpro.com, a new site I recently stumbled upon that features a rotating top ten of hot pro skaters. There’s some YouTube links to some videos but there’s also a complete list of the skateboard gear these guys are sponsors for with direct links to buy the stuff online at a claimed “researched” cheapest price. I’ve seen some online retailers who organize their inventory by pro skater but because they don’t get all the big names due to their supplier deals some of the breakdowns of what they can get are pretty lame. Skateboarderpro has it all. Pick your favorite pro from the top ten and instantly see links to EVERYTHING that rider uses, from deck to trucks, wheels, bearings, even the shoes. Skateboarderpro researches a variety of online retailers and puts it all together on one site. If you want to buy the exact setup say, Danny Way is riding, you don’t have to search around and order form 3 different sites. Skateboarderpro utilizes an Amazon aStore to combine the entire transaction into one shopping cart so it really is a skateboard enthusiast shopper’s dream.

The second opportunity I eluded to earlier is, with the skate culture endlessly gaining momentum, and sponsor companies eagerly searching for the next “pro” to exploit, the career choice of “professional skateboarder” is quickly becoming a reality for every pimply faced kid down at the local skatepark. Skateboarderpro.com has an offering for this as well with a new book, “GO PRO, The Definitive Guide On How To Become A Professional Skateboarder”. A quick check around the interweb and you’ll see there’s not much in-depth info available on the actual mechanics involved in becoming a pro skater, so I’d be eager to see what this book had to offer if I was dreaming of one day winning the X Games on a vert ramp. Unfortunately, I’m definitely over forty and my trips to the skatepark these days are fettered with fits of panic interspersed with fleeting moments of glee as I valiantly attempt to find some flow without eating some concrete. I think my dreams of going pro are long gone but I might check the book for my son, and hip my skateboard manufacturing friend to Skateboarderpro.com

Sports Software – The Lesser-Known Benefits of Online Registration For Organizers and Participants

Gone are the days of long registration lines and paper forms to sign up for a sports activity. An increasing number of sports organizations throughout North America are embracing online registration services as an added-value for participants and parents as well as staff and volunteers. Online registration not only improves efficiencies and eliminates unnecessary paperwork, it also maximizes participation and improves marketing capabilities by allowing participants to sign up when and where it’s most convenient for them from any Internet-enabled computer.

There are also lesser-known, but equally important benefits of offering an online sports registration program:

For Organizers

  1. Custom waiver and registration forms. Collect pertinent data with program-specific forms, questions and custom fields and adjust team criteria for age groups or division naming.
  2. Flexible registration periods and pricing. Through an online registration program, you can set up early bird discounts or apply late fees that will automatically go into effect for registrations processed in a certain time frame.
  3. Easy identification and background checks on volunteers. Ensure the safety of your players by collecting volunteer disclosure questionnaires online and performing background checks with your vendor of choice directly through your sports registration program.
  4. Fundraising and donation options. Collect donations, track donor information and sell fundraising merchandise online during the sports registration process to maximize donations and awareness of your fundraiser.
  5. Security and reliability. Eliminate lost files, missing payments, or incorrect amounts by automating the entire sports registration process online through a trusted provider.
  6. Eliminate labor-intensive, paper-based processes. Save staff members and participants time by eliminating paper-based registration and waiver forms and transition documents to electronic versions for quicker sign-ups and automatic data storage and security.

For Participants

  1. Save time. Participants can sign up online when and where it’s most convenient for them in just minutes without having to drive to a registration site, stand in line or manually complete paper forms.
  2. Securely and conveniently pay online. Instead of writing a check or counting cash at the front of the line, participants can simply enter their credit card information online to securely complete their payment transaction in seconds. No more bank fees for bounced checks.
  3. Receive automated confirmation receipt. Once the payment is processed, participants will then receive a receipt confirming they are signed up for their desired program(s) and their payment has been securely processed and accepted.
  4. Professional, accessible customer service support. A reputable online sports registration provider will offer a professional, accessible customer service support for participants who may have questions or need assistance completing their transactions. Participants receive support as they need it, without having to take up your staff members’ time for technical questions.
  5. Access to early bird pricing. With flexible pricing options, participants can now be incentivize and rewarded if they sign up by a specific date.

As you’re evaluating online sports registration providers, you’ll want to ensure your selected partner can make these added benefits available to you as part of your online registration service. Perhaps most important to your evaluations is to understand the security measures each online registration provider employs. Make sure the companies utilize the strictest industry security settings, technologies and firewalls measures to ensure your participants’ personal information and your stored data is always protected from thief, corruption, power outages and even natural disasters.

Advantages of Online Sports Betting

Sports betting is a favorite pastime for some and a profession for many. It is a very competitive area to be in and there is a lot of money to be made here. Traditionally, sports betting was done at the site of the event and was done through bookies. Now bookies are not known to the most of honest of people, so there was an additional risk involved. Soon, with communication technologies like the telegraph and the telephone coming in, off site betting became a huge trend. In this case, the bettors were not at the site of the event but were betting at casinos or special places that were dedicated to betting.

In this case, the odds were skewed much to the favor of the house and it was impossible to make too much money. Bookies were still ruling the roost. But then, the communication revolution happened and the Internet came in to existence. Suddenly, long distance communications were being done in an instant and it cost people almost nothing. In the mean time, betting exchanges were coming up and they were replacing the bookie by enabling direct betting. This had a lot of transparency and the house earned from a commission that they charged on the winnings.

Soon, people began making two plus two and the online sports betting era had officially began. Betting exchanges moved online and made the revolution of the Internet spread to the betting world as well. There are several advantages to online sports betting and one is most definitely the speed and convenience. The comfort of sitting at your own home, may be in your pajamas in your bedroom and making bets online can only be matched by the speed at which you can get the spreads and the updates.

You can follow events live no matter where you are, thanks to the Internet. You can also now bet from anywhere in the world, thanks to online sports betting websites. You can easily check the odds, the spreads and make your decision and make a wager. The money is all electronically transferred and you are connected through a secure connection to the site, hence there is nothing stopping you from placing as many bets as you like. You can also change your bets, cash in and do pretty much anything that you are used to doing in the real world betting scenario.

With online betting, there is no bookie involved, no jostling for space or shouting over the crowd. You do not have to physically present anywhere near the site. You can be in the middle of a business trip and still make sure that you make some money off your favorite team. That is the major convenience of online sports betting. You are absolutely safe, secure and informed at all times. So you can quit betting at your local joint and join an online sports betting website to wager like a pro and win like a king.