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Covid-19 and the Consequences for the Outdoor and Sports Business

Corona Ticker: Restart of the Sports Business

The ongoing relaxation of the restrictions in the Corona pandemic also means a new beginning for the sports and outdoor world. The ISPO.com live ticker provides daily news on the developments and effects of the crisis on the sports business worldwide.

This ticker about the restart of the sports and outdoor industry after the Covid 19 pandemic is continuously updated. In particular, we would like to show actions that encourage, strengthen social interaction in and through the sports community or how athletes support aid projects.

If you know of a helpful initiative from the world of sports or an encouraging initiative of an outdoor brand, please write to content@ispo.com. Then we will be happy to write about it here.

The ISPO Re.Start Days on June 30 and July 1 are the answer to the current challenges of the sports and outdoor industry. CEOs of renowned brands will hold lectures, athletes will inspire with keynotes and industry associations will present exclusive studies. In workshops, all participants will discuss possible solutions to help retailers, brands and suppliers emerge from the crisis.

 

 

One topic - many perspectives: personal interviews, honest opinions and controversial discussions about a trend topic. This is the new monthly newsletter "Perspectives of Sports and Outdoor" from ISPO.

+++ June 16: Outdoor and Tourism After Corona - How Digitalization Helps With the Restart

Climbing courses, sailing trips, alpine or guided mountain bike tours - many offers cannot be translated into digital. Nevertheless, digitalization can help, especially in the corona crisis. At ISPO.com, four outdoor and travel providers explain the benefits, opportunities and challenges of digital technology in times of a pandemic.

+++ June 10: Duer Changes Retail Approach

Canadian performance denim company Duer, launched Next by Duer, a quick response method that lines up demand with supply to cut waste and drive efficiencies. After losing 75 percent of revenue in less than a week amidst the Covid-19 climate, the company recognized the need for a new approach to traditional retail. According to the Founder Gary Lenett, developing a pre-sale method to line up supply with demand was the only option.

"The old-world way of creating speculative inventory and then running costly marketing campaigns to sell it, is inefficient and wasteful," said Lenett. "The world is changing and we have to change with it. We are introducing Next as a new way of doing business where we gauge demand and then produce exactly what's needed and the cost savings is passed directly to our customer."

Next by Duer will introduce a prototype of a product, and customers will have the ability to order pieces at a discount throughout a 3 week campaign period. If minimum thresholds are met, the garment is manufactured and delivered to the customer within 4 to 8 weeks. This quick response approach will enable Duer to deliver products much faster than a traditional clothing supply chain which would typically take 6-18 months.

"In the early days of Duer we saw success gauging customer interest and managing inventory levels with the kickstarter model," said Lenett. "Although the Next program has some similarities to a typical crowdfunding model, Next is challenging the traditional retail model by presenting a new way of doing business rather than a tactic to test the market."

 

+++ June 8: ICC Starts Partnership for SMEs

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the Exponential Roadmap Initiative, with the support of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), have announced a new partnership – the “SME Exponential Race to Zero” – to explore the development of a global platform to help SMEs build business resilience by providing them with concrete climate action tools and financial resources necessary to thrive in a post-COVID-19 world.

Building on the The 1.5°C Business Playbook and the ICC’s Chambers Climate Coalition network, the new initiative seeks to help SMEs build business resilience by providing them with concrete tools to work towards halving emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, while reducing costs, enhancing access to capital and increasing business preparedness.

SMEs comprise an estimated 80 percent of business worldwide employing billions of people and play a vital role in their local communities and in global supply chains. Accelerated climate action from SMEs will have a significant impact both in terms of overall emissions reduction in the businesses and global supply chain, but also in terms of community engagement and encouraging governments to align with Net-Zero by 2050 targets, allowing exponential scaling of climate action.

+++ June 3: Italy Supports Bike Market

While the German government is discussing the introduction of a purchase incentive for cars, Italy is creating incentives to buy a bicycle: Italian citizens living in large cities or metropolitan areas can apply to the authorities for a voucher of 60 percent of the purchase price or a maximum of 500 euros for the purchase of a bike. The voucher received is deducted from the purchase price directly at the time of purchase from the dealer and can then be claimed by the dealer from the state.

Paola De Micheli, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, hopes that the measure will promote alternative mobility in Italy's conurbations. Northern Italy in particular suffers from high levels of air pollution.

+++ May 28: Europe-Wide Movement Lesson on Saturday

The #beactivehour will take place on Saturday, 30 May at 17:00 Central European Time. 

People from all over Europe and beyond can participate and share their activity in social media under #beactive. The campaign is coordinated by EuropeActive and ukactive and supported by the European Commission as part of the European Week of Sport. A number of other #beactive sessions are planned over the summer, coinciding with sporting events, which will be postponed to encourage fans with different sporting interests. This Saturday would have been the final of the UEFA Champions League.

One topic - many perspectives: personal interviews, honest opinions and controversial discussions about a trend topic. This is the new monthly newsletter "Perspectives of Sports and Outdoor" from ISPO.

+++ May 25: YKK Manufactures Products for COVID-19 Relief

YKK, main sponsor of ISPO Brandnew, is currently producing essential fastening products to help support the fight against Covid-19. These include isolation/containment units, medical equipment like surgical masks, mattress protection, personal protective equipment and ventilator components.

+++ May 22: After Cancellation of the UTMB Mont-Blanc: Trail Runners with Empty Summer Event Calendar

The cancellation of the UTMB Mont-Blanc was bad news for many trailrunning pros recently, as the organizers were confident that the event would continue until the end. Thus, the trail running event calendar is now empty for many athletes until the end of August. Only the Transalpine Run with start on 29 August 2020 is still on the race calendar. [Update: Meanwhile, this event has been cancelled as well] The organisers are cautiously optimistic on the website at the moment: «The Dynafit Transalpine Run is currently taking place on the planned date and our preparations are continuing optimistically. Since this can change daily, we are working on a plan B and will keep you informed here.»

+++ 20 May: US Outdoor Retail Encouraged by Reopenings

After closing for a good two months, stores are reopening in large parts of the US - and the return of outdoor retailers appears to be promising.  

"The reopening has been very well received by employees and staff," Snews quotes Bree Warner, store manager at industry giant REI: "The majority of customers coming in are wearing masks, even though they're not required to, just strongly encouraged. Customers don't seem nervous because we've lagged behind the other retailers in town opening up. A lot of the independent outdoor stores have been open for weeks. Customers are getting used to shopping this way now."


Bikes, footwear and camping products are particularly popular.

The outdoor retailer Columbia also brought back a total of 250 recently furloughed employees back to their jobs with new store reopenings on May 15. 

Icebreaker Works on Wristband to Measure Temperature

Icebreaker has announced a partnership with Nightingale MedTech. Together, the two companies plan to advance the development of an "intelligent wristband" that will monitor the wearer's temperature and potentially help in the fight against Covid-19.

The bracelet made of merino wool is provided by Icebreaker. In addition, a Nightingale bio-sensor is currently undergoing clinical trials with the University of Auckland, funded by the New Zealand government. 

+++ 18 May: First Glacier Ski Resort in Austria Opens in May

Austria's loosening of the corona shutdown now also reaches the first ski resort. The Hintertux Glacier in Tyrol will be the first Austrian ski area to reopen on 29 May - including lifts and restaurants. At present there are 3.4 meters of snow.

"We are aware of our responsibility towards guests and employees and plan to reopen on 29 May 2020 on the basis of the announced ordinances of the Ministry of Health. The health and safety of all is our highest priority", said a spokesperson of the ski resort.

According to OE24, the Finkenberger Almbahnen and Eggalmbahnen are also scheduled to reopen in June.

Oberalp Convention Digital and Public for the First Time

The Oberalp Group, with its brands Salewa, Dynafit, Wild Country, Evolv and Pomoca, is reacting to the current restrictions and is holding the Oberalp Convention digitally and publicly for the first time. On May 20, participants can expect, among other things, a 360° showroom tour and live chats. The event will focus on "What the mountain sports industry can build its future on".

The whole event will take place here on May 20, 5 pm CET

+++May 15: Mammut and Others Supports Challenge for Future

Instead of the Strike For Future by Klimastreik Schweiz, the Challenge for Future is taking place today. During this day of action, various challenges can be solved from home - participants also have the opportunity to network. 
Manufacturers from the sports sector such as Mammut or the organisation Protect Our Winters are also supporting today's action day.

+++ May 14: Adidas Starts Charity Campaign #HomeTeamHero

Supporting the fight against Corona through sport - this is the goal Adidas has set itself with the new #HomeTeamHero Challenge. In this campaign, the sporting goods manufacturer calls on hobby athletes worldwide to track sporting activities with apps from the end of May for more than a week. For every tracked hour, Adidas will then donate one US dollar to the World Health Organization Solidarity Fund.

From 18 May, participants can register for the #HomeTeamHero Challenge. From May 29 to 7 users will be able to track their sporting activity with either the training or running apps from Adidas, but also with apps from Garmin, Suunto, JoyRun and other providers, and thus accumulate hours. Adidas has set a target of one million sports hours for the community - a donation of one million dollars to the WHO.

Senior Vice President Digital Scott Zalaznik: "The #HomeTeamHero Challenge is our chance to give something back to those who have kept our daily lives going over the past weeks and continue to do so"

 

+++ Patagonia Cautious With Reopening Despite End of Lockdown

The outdoor brand Patagonia was one of the first companies to close its retail store in the face of the Corona crisis: On March 13, Patagonia announced that its 39 stores will be temporarily closed. As fast as the company reacted, it could now take as much time to reopen.

“We’re going to be cautious about the way we open up — we’re not going to necessarily follow what the state decrees are,” the New York Times quotes Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario. “There are some areas that aren’t as hard hit, but I don’t think you can assume those places won’t see a surge in cases if people stop social-distancing.”

So Patagonia is keeping its stores closed for the time being, even though they are allowed to open in several US states. On May 20th, customers will be able to pick up items at ten Patagonia stores. According to the New York Times, Patagonia expects its stores to open in June at the earliest, but is prepared to wait until autumn or even the beginning of winter if necessary.

+++ May 12: Airinum Masks in Great Demand

In January, the Swedish start-up Airinum with its Urban Air Mask 2.0 was awarded as a Selected Brand at ISPO Brandnew. With its collection of washable breathing masks with a five-layer filter for pollen, bacteria, dust and toxins combined with simple Swedish design, Airinum is now more in demand than ever. All Limited Editions of the Urban Air Mask 2.0 with unique designs are currently sold out. Those interested, can join a pre-order waiting list.

Masks of the Classic Collection are currently still available in the official Airinum online shop.

Spectacular: Fabio Wibmer in "Home Office"

With his spectacular tricks on the bike, Fabio Wibmer is a guarantor for millions of YouTube views. Fittingly to the Corona pandemic, his latest spectacular clip plays in the "Home Office". With more than five million views after just one week, Wibmer is once again extremely successful. No wonder, given such acrobatics:

+++ May 7: USA: California Loosens Restrictions

As of Friday, 8 May, California will loosen its eight-weeks old restrictions on certain retail categories, allowing - with modifications - many sporting goods stores to re-open. The announcement was made by California Governor Newsom who had set out a strict order of required developments for each step in a staged reopening of the state’s economy. Stable numbers of new COVID-19 cases and large testing capabilities were needed for this first step.

With 40 million residents California is the most populous state in the U.S. If it were an independent nation, California’s economy would be the fifth-largest in the World – between Germany and India. Sports-oriented and healthy lifestyles are core to California’s identity, supported by a large spectrum of sporting goods stores. 

While federal guidelines about COVID-19 restrictions are expected to be removed by mid-May, individual states and municipalities enforce their responses to the pandemic based on local situations and political considerations regarding the balance of concern for public health and economy. For instance, within the state of California, Greater Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area counties may extend shelter-in-place guidelines affecting all retailers beyond the partial opening date announced by the government in Sacramento.

The North Face: 1 Million Euros for the Outdoor Community

The North Face is dedicated to supporting the outdoor community and bringing people together outdoors. Even in times of Corona, the company follows this claim and provides one million euros in funding for outdoor and nature conservation organisations: Until May 22, 2020, named organizations can apply to The North Face Covid-10 Explore Fund and receive up to 50,000 euros for new projects.

+++ May 6: Interview With Stefan Glowacz

As the founder of Red Chili, extreme mountaineer Stefan Glowacz also knows the industry side and trade very well. In an interview with ISPO.com he talks about why climbing shoes are not seasonal products, which lessons he is already learning from the crisis and shares his view of major sporting events. 

+++ May 5: Blue Mag Counts on Surfer Crowdfunding

With 21 years, Blue Mag is Germany's oldest surf & travel magazine. Now it is asking for the support of the sports community so that the 20th anniversary edition of the Blue Yearbook can be published this year. The majority of the surf brands had to withdraw their advertisements due to the Corona crisis. The Blue Yearbook thus lacks the main source of funding for authors and photographers. In order to still be able to carry on with the 20th anniversary edition of the Blue Yearbook and keep this piece of printed tradition alive, the Blue Mag has now started a crowdfunding on Startnext.

The magazine hopes to collect 35,000 euros in donations by 15 June to ensure that the Blue Yearbook 2020 can be brought to market. If the second donation plateau of 45,000 euros is reached, there will also be an English edition.

Supporters can not only donate, but also purchase reward packages and thus get shirts or art prints, for example, and at the same time make the Blue Yearbook possible.

Click here for the crowdfunding

Vertical Life Starts Survey for Climbers

Many representatives of the indoor climbing industry agree that a reopening of climbing gyms can only take place under certain controlled circumstances. The goal is to implement effective Covid-19 risk mitigation measures.

In a questionnaire Vertical Life wants to to analyse which solutions and restrictions would be acceptable for climbers. With this assessment the platform wants to help the gyms to make further decisions.

Find the questionnaire here.

+++ 29 April: Vertical Life Supports Climbing Gyms

Climbing and bouldering halls suffer from the exit restrictions. The climbing software developer Vertical Life has now created a blog for climbing gyms in crisis. There you can find, among other things, a strategy paper on how to reduce the Covid-19 risk in climbing and bouldering halls, a four-phase model for a successful survival of the crisis and an article on software solutions for the reopening of halls.

Click here for the Vertical Life Blog for climbing gyms.

Vertical Life is also working with a group of representatives of the indoor climbing industry from various countries on a strategy document for climbing gyms. The aim is to identify measures for the safe commissioning of climbing gyms and to propose solutions based on expert opinions and current scientific knowledge. The document will be continuously updated.

The latest version is available here.

+++ April 27: EOG calls for cooperation in outdoor industry

EOG President Mark Held has published an open letter to the outdoor industry, calling for continued sustainable, ethical cooperation during the coronavirus outbreak, and outlining why that is important now, more than ever. 

"We want to encourage and facilitate all members and non-members of the EOG within the outdoor industry to come to the table and work through the multitude of issues they are facing," Held says.

Maloja Launches Oronasal Mask With ViralOff Technology

Maloja is one of the first brands in the world to launch functional masks with Polygiene's ViralOff antiviral treatment, the three-layer "Reusable Mask", which will be available in several colors from the beginning of May at stationary Maloja partners and in online shops.

+++ April 24: Salomon Produces Face Masks for the Industry

In cooperation with its industrial partner Chamatex, the French mountaineering company Salomon is now producing face masks in its prototype centre. Instead of models of new shoes or jackets, the team will produce around 90,000 washable and reusable, multi-layer fabric masks up until the end of June. This is also in response to an urgent appeal from the French government. The masks are certified by the DGA (Direction Général de l'Armement) and are intended primarily for authorities and industrial users in all sectors of the economy.

NITRO Organizes Fundraising for Snowboard Freelancers

NITRO has been an integral part of the snowboard community for more than 30 years. One of the core values of the company is, according to its own statement, "to give something back to the community". Following this thought, the company has created the Snowboard Community Fund. The aim is to provide simple financial help for photographers, filmmakers, creative people and park shapers affected by the Corona crisis. Everyone can contribute to the fund. To date, 10,000 euros have already been collected, the goal is 60,000 euros in total.

Pally'Hi Appreciates "Working Heroes"

Pally'Hi, manufacturer of high quality merino products for sports and leisure, pays tribute and expresses its appreciation to people in system relevant professions with 40% discount in its online shop. The "Working Heroes" only have to send a photo of themselves with their working uniform and/or name badge to the company and will then receive their individual discount code, says the facebook page of the company:

"How it works:
- Send us a mail with 1) your name 2) job description 3) employer and 4) a selfie of you in your uniform (max 1 MB) to heroes@pallyhi.com.
- Only mails containing all those requirements will be processed.
- If validated, we will send you a discount code.
- Valid on Pallyhi.com until April 30th, 2020 (Not valid for sales or other discounted products)
- For European countries only.
#pallyhi #PallyHiWorkingHeroes #Thanks"

+++ April 23: European Outdoor Summit Postponed to 2021

The European Outdoor Group (EOG) has taken the decision to postpone the European Outdoor Summit (EOS) until 2021. The Summit will take place in Annecy, France, in the autumn, and the EOG is currently looking at suitable dates, which will be announced shortly.

This decision has been made as a result of consultation with Outdoor Sports Valley (OSV), the EOS partners for 2020 and the EOG board. Due to the impact that COVID-19 is having on the outdoor industry, as well as the different stages of development of the virus in different European countries, combined with the general uncertainty, the EOG believe that the best decision is to postpone the event to ensure its value for all involved.

Arena donates masks to hospital

The Italian swimming brand Arena has donated a large quantity of its "ONE" swimming masks to the anaesthesia and intensive care unit of the Policlinico hospital in Milan. There, they now contribute to increasing the virus protection for doctors and nurses. Arena has also announced that it will donate masks to other hospitals if they also need them. 

Eine Ärztin posiert mit der Schwimmmaske "ONE" von Arena.
A doctor poses with the swimming mask "ONE" from Arena.

+++ April 22: Major Cities Give Cyclists More Space

Several major cities around the world are now giving cyclists more space: Berlin, Bogota, Budapest, Vancouver and Mexico City are transforming roads previously used by cars into pure cycle paths.

In the Colombian capital Bogota alone, 100 kilometres of road network have been converted into pure cycle paths in order to relieve public transport. Berlin is in the process of declaring additional space on roads for cyclists, while Mexico City is temporarily even quadrupling the number of cycle paths.

+++ April 20: New 50 KM World Record on the Treadmill

In 2019, no one would have thought that treadmill records would once receive such presence and relevance . And now: For the third time in 2020, the record for the 50 kilometers was broken. Swiss orienteering champion Matthias Kyburz finished the distance on the treadmill in 2:56:36 and thus set a clear mark. Most recently, ultra runner Florian Neuschwander had set the time at 2:57:25 in late February.

#CyclingTheExtraMile

Already on April 7, the trade association Cycling Industries Europe launched the project 'Cycling The Extra Mile' - a social media campaign, focussing on all the small and large actions of the cycling community to support systemically important professions and people in times of Corona. The 'Extra Mile' stands symbolically for the additional performance in this crisis.

"These actions mean that individuals and employees carry on working, even if they put themselves at some personal risk. Companies keep providing essential services even when it costs them money, because they have to pay wages or they refuse state aid that they would get if they close" says the association's website.

Especially on Twitter, the hashtag #CyclingTheExtraMile is making its mark.

+++ April 16: La Sportiva Produces Sports Face Masks

La Sportiva starts production of the Stratos Mask, a face mask for general use. CEO and President Lorenzo Delladio already announced during the conversion of part of the production plant in Ziano di Fiemme for the manufacture of surgical masks for the Civil Protection Trento: "We are trying to offer innovative solutions for everyday use as well. In this way La Sportiva hopes to solve a problem that has been underestimated until now, namely the environmental impact caused by the disposable masks currently on the market".

The use of protective masks will be part of everyday life in many regions for a long time. The Stratos Mask is designed to offer high comfort, ergonomics and less environmental impact through replaceable filters. The masks are not certified respirators.

La Sportiva bringt mit der Stratos Mask erstmals eine Gesichtsmaske für den Alltagsgebrauch auf den Markt.
La Sportiva bringt mit der Stratos Mask erstmals eine Gesichtsmaske für den Alltagsgebrauch auf den Markt.

FESI Survey: Sporting Goods Industry Severely Affected

he European sports industry has been hit hard by the Corona crisis. A FESI survey shows the extent of the problems. 45 percent of the companies that took part in the survey have suffered revenue losses of between 50 and 90 percent since the beginning of the crisis.The industry association demands quick action from the national governments. Find out more here.

Bicycle Retailers in Germany Reopen from 20 April

Good news for the German bicycle retail trade. As the German government announced in a statement, bicycle shops can reopen from 20 April, in addition to bookstores and car dealers, despite the extension of contact restrictions until the beginning of May.

Shops with up to 800 square meters of sales area may also open. For the time being, there is no nationwide obligation to wear masks in shops. However, cities could implement such obligations.

Formula E Launches eSports Events

Formula 1 and the Nascar series have been providing for virtual racing events as a substitute during the involuntary race-free period for weeks with their own eSports events. Now Formula E is following suit: The racing series, in which completely electronically driven racing cars compete, has now launched the "Race at Home Challenge" together with UNICEF and Motorsport Games.

Starting on Saturday, drivers from Formula E will compete against each other in the PC racing simulation rFactor 2 Messen. In another racing series, Sim Racing professionals will meet each other. At the end of each lap, the driver in last place is eliminated until only ten cars are left in the race. These cars then take the victory over one lap and the remaining positions are decided among themselves.

As many as 14 Formula E drivers have been announced for the first race, including Felipe Massa, Stoffel Vandoorne, Lucas di Grassi, Daniel Abt, Mitch Evans, Antonio Felix da Costa, Maximilian Günther and Alexander Sims. 

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