Did you hear?…

Quick news hits and personnel changes in the outdoor marketplace...

>> The Super Show will strive for a little fun and games at the January event by trying to create the largest sports pin collection ever assembled in one place to make an entry into the Guiness Book of World Records. Management is asking attendees to bring pins for the display — anything from Olympic to team sports, to event pins, with many thousands needed to break the record. No, they won’t be returned, the management warns. After the show, the collection will be auctioned on eBay with the money going to PE4Life, a non-profit group that promote sports and physical education in schools.

>> Julie King, always available and always accurate PR guru at Life Fitness, will not be returning to her post after her pregnancy leave. Out on leave since August and scheduled to return in late October, King has decided the company’s move of the marketing department to downtown Chicago, which would triple her commute time, would be too hard on her now three-month-old son Ryan. She will pursue other writing and free-lancing. Meanwhile, Life Fitness’ marketing team — including consumer marketing, creative services, interactive marketing, Life Fitness Academy, public relations, technical communications, trade shows, U.S. club marketing and U.S. vertical marketing — will open for business in downtown Chicago on Nov. 11. The move will not only take that department closer to media and other central Chicago services, but also allow other departments to move into the space emptied in the crowded Franklin Park offices. New address: 200 S. Wacker, Suite 1300, Chicago, IL 60606.

>> In a surprise move that came without warning to staffers, Time Inc. is closing the doors on its Sports Illustrated Women magazine after two years. The December issue will be its last. Ann Moore, chairman and CEO of Time Inc., said, “SI Women was smart, interesting and attractive. Indeed, although we had some of our best and brightest people working on it, SI Women needed a significant investment to reach its potential. The investment climate was simply not on our side.” Time Inc. said it is trying to find other positions within the company for the 45 staffers. SNEWS View: Our inside sources said the magazine’s closing was completely unexpected and definitely a financial decision. Several we talked to noted they had no hint anything of the sort was pending, and one staffer even heard it from us first. It seems Time Inc. didn’t have the patience to wait for the magazine to come into its own, despite a gap in the magazine market for women’s magazines that offered more than beauty, haircare or fitness that was all about looking good. In general, it seems that the company is focused on the bottom line rather than quality publications. Too bad it had to be at the expense of 400,000 subscribers.

>> The joint operation by IHRSA and Athletic Business of a fall trade show will cease after this year’s show after a decade together.Peter Brown, AB president, says Athletic Business is “fully committed to growing the show in the future,” and is making plans for 2003-2006.

>> Iron Grip Barbell Company has signed a limited license agreement with Gill Athletics, formerly known as Gill Sports, for a line of Olympic weight plates with handgrips. The plates will be sold through Gill Athletics and its distributors. The company has also completed its move to a facility nearly twice as large, still in Orange County, Calif. The company’s new address is 4012 Garry Avenue, in Santa Ana, Calif., where it will house corporate offices, production, warehouse, shipping and receiving. Email, phone, and fax numbers will remain the same.

>> Jim Davis, chairman and CEO of New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc., was awarded the first annual Fleet Feet Lifetime Commitment to Running Award, presented last week. “The award recognizes an industry leader who has shown a continuing, passionate commitment to our industry and the sport of running,” said Tom Raynor, President of Fleet Feet.

>> Looks like fitness facilities may be recession proof afterall as more clubs are planned on both sides of the coast. Boston-based Fitcorp is planning to open three new sites — two in Boston and one Cambridge, Mass. — that are either replacements or enlargements of existing facilities. Its corporate business is also expanding to include two corporate centers for Biogen and Allmerica. On the other side of the country, Angel and William Banos of Hollywood Gold’s Gym are moving beyond the glitz and glitter of Hollywood and opening a 32,000-square-foot club in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Irene Rubinsky, an award-winning choreographer, will direct the club’s exercise and dance programs.

>> Sick of Spam, part of a never-ending series: A recent study by the NFO World Group said that consumers are changing their email addresses at the rate of 31 percent annually, mainly to avoid spam, or unsolicited marketing messages. Based on 1,015 respondents, the study also revealed other reasons for changes in email addresses include a change in ISP (50 percent), a change in residence (12 percent), and the desire for a more attractive email address (8 percent). Consumers admitted the pitfall off all this name changing was losing touch with personal contacts and valued websites and e-newsletters. But losing touch with spam may be more important. Another report just out showed that of all email received in September, some 30 percent of that is spam.