Tag Archives: Fitness

The Major Leagues get a new Sport – Pickleball  

By now we’re all familiar with pickleball. We’ve heard about it from friends, relatives, and neighbors. After all, it is the fastest-growing recreational sport with roughly five million players.

But somehow, it lacks the status of other sports. You know, the ones with big name players, top athletes, and big leagues. Like the NBA, MLB, MLS, NFL, and more. But now, there is a new entrant to the big leagues – MLP (also known as major league pickleball)!

Even basketball king LeBron James is in on the action, having recently purchased a MLP team. The MLP will expand to 24 teams next year. Each team has co-ed players, two men and two women, who play singles and doubles events.

In MLP play, there are no home teams. Similar to the three-on-three basketball league Big3, all teams arrive in the tournament city for play. This year there were three tournaments and next year will have six tournaments. Prize money in 2023 will be $2.4 million (compared to $1 million this year).

The popularity of pickleball has grown rapidly. Community organizations, tennis clubs, and athletic gear companies have all gotten in on the new sport. Pickleball-only clubs are also being developed. One such club is Lucky Shot in Minneapolis where players match up in a 40,000-square-foot space. Other entertainment locations such as breweries are also installing pickleball courts.

It may have a crazy name, but it’s caught on and entered the big leagues!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What are favorite sports? Which sports do the students play?
  2. Who has played pickleball? Describe their experiences.
  3. Show the MLP site: https://www.majorleaguepickleball.net/
  4. Show Lucky Shots site: https://luckyshotspickleball.com/
  5. Show Smash Park site: https://smashpark.com/
  6. Divide students into teams.
  7. Have each team put together a marketing campaign to gain followers for a pickleball team.
  8. What are the key elements?

Source:  Berkman, S. (14 June 2022). Developers embrace passion for pickleball. New York Times.; Mather, V. (3 October 2022). Move over… everything? Here comes major league pickleball. New York Times.

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Contagions Apply to Both Sickness and Health

Trends are contagious, both when they are growing as well as when they are declining. Think about it. We see new trends nearly every day, adopt them, but then just as often we quit those trends. This is not just a lone event of one person though. Social networks are strong components in helping us decide what to adopt.

According to research, many health behaviors are fundamentally contagious ideas. Basically, your social network can predict health, weight, and exercise (even stock prices). A timely case that illustrates this movement is Peloton, which reached a high during the pandemic, only to plummet a year later as the pandemic waned.

How do we get ‘infected’ with the contagion? Social networks lead consumers to catch the trend, live with it, and then move on to new trends. During the pandemic, it was all about fitness at home, online training, and connected exercise equipment. We couldn’t go to the gym and many sports were suspended, leading to more investment in home-based fitness. However, now that pandemic restrictions have been removed, we’ve gone back to the gym and sports teams.

Research conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine shows us how trends move in cycles: Pilates, Zumba, Cross Fit, spinning, and boot camps are all examples. Even exercises with staying power, such as yoga and running, move into new variants and practices to survive. Some of the top fitness trends for 2022 include:

  • Wearable technology
  • Home exercise gyms
  • Outdoor activities
  • Strength training with free weights

What trends do you think will stick around?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Divide students into teams. Have each team list past fitness trends they have tried?
  2. What helps a trend stick around?
  3. What leads trends to quickly fade out?
  4. Using Peloton as an example of trends, show video about Peloton’s life cycle: https://www.wsj.com/video/series/wsj-explains/why-peloton-spun-out-what-happened-to-the-bike-and-treadmill-firm/30FEB49E-85EE-4719-9B6D-F7E44D195CE5
  5. View ACSM report on fitness trends: https://journals.lww.com/acsm-healthfitness/Fulltext/2022/01000/Worldwide_Survey_of_Fitness_Trends_for_2022.6.aspx
  6. Discuss the stages in the product life cycle. What are the marketing objectives in each stage?
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team draw a product life cycle and place various fitness and health trends into each stage.
  8. Next, have students brainstorm on how to reposition or revise products/services to that they can move into an earlier stage of the life cycle.
  9. Have teams draw a product life cycle. Place different fitness and health trends on the PLC.

Source: American College of Sports Medicine (30 December 2021). Wearable tech named top fitness trend for 2022.; Zumbrun, J. (9 September 2022). Both sickness and health, it turns out, are contagious. Wall Street Journal.

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Peloton Now Available on Amazon

Like many other direct-to-consumer companies, Peloton did great during the pandemic. Its sales were at an all-time high and the company couldn’t keep up with demand. Peloton sold only through its own retail stores and online – no other distribution channel. This model allowed Peloton to keep a larger portion of the sales price, but the narrow distribution hampered sales and delivery. It just couldn’t keep up with demand.

But now things have changed in retail, and changed for Peloton in particular. In a move designed to expand its customer base and sell more product, its fitness equipment and apparel will now be available from Amazon. This is the first such partnership for Peloton’s distribution channel.

The Peloton bike retails for $1,445 – a pretty large sum for a product on Amazon. Also on Amazon, Peloton will sell its strength product, the Peloton Guide, for $295 plus branded cycling shorts, weights, yoga blocks, and other apparel. (At this time, the more expensive Bike+ and Tread treadmill are not available on Amazon.) Bike customers can now select a self-assembly option instead of having Peloton staff assemble and install the Bike.

Peloton is not the only company expanding its sales from DTC to brick-and-mortar stores. Consider Warby Parker and Allbirds; both companies started by selling products online only, but have now expanded to their own stores and other retailers.

Where will you purchase?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. In order to be successful, companies must be able to physically get a product into the hands of the customers. Discuss how a distribution channel works.
  2. For Peloton Bike, what distribution channels are used now?
  3. How can the channel be expanded? What approach could be used?
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team draw a flow chart for the distribution of the product.
  5. View Peloton’s store on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/stores/Peloton/page/08F7A78F-F893-478F-975C-27223FD08B5F?ref_=ast_bln&pd_rd_w=W3EIN&content-id=amzn1.sym.73ac3f51-c1c2-4951-89eb-8ee3c7bb7bd8&pf_rd_p=73ac3f51-c1c2-4951-89eb-8ee3c7bb7bd8&pf_rd_r=3E7328ME1FKNQGD6VTW8&pd_rd_wg=vNHwA&pd_rd_r=b66f4f9e-6c64-45f2-b2b7-29299228d75c
  6. View video: https://youtu.be/J1pKZts_K3s
  7. View Peloton’s website: https://www.onepeloton.com/

Sources:  Ovide, S. (25 August 2022). Why Peloton is selling on Amazon. New York Times.; Thomas, L. (24 August 2022). Peloton strikes a deal to sell fitness equipment and apparel on Amazon.

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