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Volume 26 No. 227
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Tom Cove Explains Downturn In Sporting Goods Sales Over Last Year

Despite the U.S. economy continuing to grow, those gains were not reflected in sales of sporting goods this year. That was a key takeaway from Sports & Fitness Industry Association President & CEO Tom Cove's review and discussion of financial and demographic trends during Day 2 of the '19 Learfield IMG College Intercollegiate Athletics Forum. Cove said of the relationship between sporting goods sales and the U.S. economy at large, "It's pretty simple. When the economy is doing well, we do better. When the economy goes in the tank, we do worse." Cove noted in '19, the U.S. overall was a "pretty good, healthy economy." Cove said, "That is a key indicator. That is a really big deal because that is different than what it has been." The discussion then turned to what effect inactivity in sports participation has had on sporting goods sales. Cove called inactivity "one of the greatest threats to our entire sports experience" because from a business perspective, the No. 1 indicator of fandom is "having been active, and even more, having played that sport."