Conference focusses on ‘growing the landscape’

A smaller-than-hoped for attendance with some notable absentees heard from a collection of interesting speakers at the Australian Sporting Goods Association conference.

The New Directions in Sport conference was executive director Brad Kitschke’s first and was held in Melbourne’ new rectangular stadium, the AAMI Park stadium, located in the southern city’s stadium central.

Among the highlights were the keynote by Olympic great Kevan Gosper who told of his experiences in athletics and in the many years devoted to the International Olympic Committee and the staging of Sydney Olympics. 

He emphasised the importance of technologies including airline travel in promoting international sports events and of giving younger athletes a greater share of the pie.

The presentation from Steve Cusworth of InsideOut Strategic on what ASGA is calling import rorts” struck a chord with the audience, bringing many questions on the low import threshold of $1000 and its implications for suppliers and retailers.

Another highlight was the session on parallel importing and possible ways to fight it, with many questions from the audience seeking clarification from Corrs Chambers Westgarth lawyer Jenny Wrigley.

Officially opening the conference, Victorian Sports Minister James Merlino described Melbourne as the ultimate sports city with the record of 7.5 million people attending sports events in 2009 well on the way to being broken in 2010, with the world champion cycling in Geelong, the AFL finals and the expected crowds for the Tiger Woods golf defence in November.

Says Merlino, “Major sporting events deliver export opportunities and sporting tourists who stay longer and spend more to Victoria.”

He reported that, in Victoria at least, “sports participation figures are growing fast, driving the national $6 billion industry socially and economically.”

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