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Year in Review: Innovation takes sports to next level

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Expect more world’s records in 2014. Traditional athletic coaching and conditioning programs are getting a bigger boost from major advances in high performance gear and sports nutrition. At the same time, major increases in investment in sports business are strengthening the foundation for continued success.

Many of the most important innovations in sports business in 2013 highlight trends that will continue through 2014 and create profitable investment opportunities for many years to come:

  • New materials. Proprietary “Climacool” textiles from Adidas have demonstrated that technological advances in chemistry and nanotechnology can support manufacturing of sportswear that is lighter, more durable and enables athletes to reduce exposure to dehydration and overheating. This example has also showed that well managed sports businesses command hefty price premiums. “Climacool” sportswear often retails at prices twice as high as conventional sports clothing.
  • Biomechanical engineering expertise. A new generation of sports science experts is being trained in graduate programs and completely new sports universities including the first class of Russia Interantional Olympic University in Sochi. These sports scientists are increasing the volume of advanced technology training and conditioning equipment and athletic performance software. Many advances such as the revolutionary pivoting capabilities of the CoreStix strength conditioning systems, enable steady incremental gains that maximize the effectiveness of workout regimens.
  • Sophisticated sports injury rehabilitation programs. Injuries used to keep athletes from exercising and maintaining their strength for months…or forever. Scientific therapies incorporating posture assessment and creative use of pneumatic technology by Normatek conditioning equipment are make quicker recoveries from sports injuries possible. Many of these advances also support steady incremental gains, so that high performance athletes can achieve their full potential.

This bright outlook is being made even brighter by the increased attention that sponsors and investors are paying to sports business. Brooks Brothers inked the first ever private sponsorship program with the six-hundred year old St. Andrews Golf Course in Scotland. Well funded sponsors from the Middle East with no prior history of investing in sports sponsorships such as Emirates Airlines and the Qater Foundation are investing hundreds of millions of dollars at historically high levels. These have propelled higher values for almost all successful sports clubs. In addition, Qater Sports Investment is making direct investments in sports organizations together with private equity investors such as Los Angeles based Guggenheim Partners and AEG (the parent company of Examiner.com). The booming stock market is also providing more investment capital for sports business demonstrated by the successful initial public offering of Dallas based Club Corp in October 2013.

A long term look at the outlook for sports business will highlight the long term benefits of investment cycles. The current boom in sports business has a strong foundation that will attract much more new investment in 2014.

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