SFIA Announces Major Campaign to Increase Sports Participation

SILVER SPRING, MD – September 17, 2014 —

At the 2014 SFIA Industry Leaders Summit in Chicago, SFIA Chairman & Mizuno, USA President Bob Puccini and SFIA President & CEO Tom Cove announced the SFIA Increase Participation Plan, the biggest initiative the sports and fitness industry has launched to increase participation. Working closely with industry partner PHIT America, SFIA outlined an attack plan to help reverse the ‘inactivity pandemic,’ and get more Americans active and playing sports.

“The SFIA Board realizes we must reverse the ‘inactivity pandemic’ here in the U.S. which is hurting our industry. We must invest in common-sense programs that will get adults and children moving and off the couch,” said Puccini.  “We have a two-step approach which will work. Our goal is to create 1 million new active children by 2020. We are asking all companies in our industry to step up to invest in two major initiatives which will make a difference.”

The first step is to jumpstart physical activity with young Americans through “Mini PEP Grants”. With the average budget for physical education in schools at $764 per year, PE programs are in hurting. The Mini PEP Grants of $2,000 to $5,000 will complement the existing PEP grants that are distributed by the U.S. Department of Education through its Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP). The goal is to get kids moving before, after, and during school.

“We know PE is the best way we can get children active in sports and fitness activities. We also know PEP Grants work”, said Chris Clawson, President of Life Fitness. “With 68,000 public elementary schools, only a few ever get a PEP Grant. The vast majority of schools need our help. We can create an active child for less than $40 a child. The ROI for this investment is great for our industry. I believe in this Mini PEP Program and am making a big investment in this program now”.

The second step of the SFIA Increase Participation Plan is to launch a campaign to pass the PHIT Act by 2016. PHIT, Personal Health Investment Today Act, is the important legislation that will allow Americans to use Pre-Tax Medical Accounts for physical activity expenses. In the past few years, the SFIA along with others in the industry have made great progress in promoting the PHIT Act. To date, 25 Republicans and 24 Democrats have co-sponsored the legislation. Now is time to push this legislation through. “The PHIT legislation is innovative and game-changing. By incentivizing the things that will keep people active, we will improve America’s health and strengthen our industry”, said Tom Cove.

To pass the PHIT Act and implement Mini PEP Grant programs, the SFIA is working hand in hand with PHIT America, the industry non-profit started two years ago that is focused on increasing sport and fitness participation in America.  PHIT America along with partner, KIDS in the GAME, will manage the Mini PEP Grant program, as well as continuing to expand it communications, education and day-to-day activities.

To launch the two new major initiatives, SFIA called on the industry to invest in the “Increase Participation Plan”. “We have established two new sponsorship levels within PHIT America which will enable companies and organizations to invest in getting America active, change the behavior of children, help us pass the PHIT Act in Congress, and have a great ROI for investors and the industry,” says Jim Baugh, Founder of PHIT America.

Gold sponsors will be investing $50,000 in the program while Silver sponsors will be investing $25,000 apiece.

These funds will be spent in three different ways:
70% will be distributed to in school programs through the Mini PEP Grants
20% will be distributed to the SFIA to upgrade its lobbying efforts to pass the PHIT Act by 2016
10% will be used by PHIT America for its administrative costs and day to day operations

“Our Goal is to get 1 million children active by 2020. We can do it. Every company or organization which believes in the broad based values and benefits associated with active kids needs to step up to grow participation through these programs,” concluded Puccini.

Companies that want to commit to increasing participation should contact Jim Baugh ([email protected]) for more details.