Fitness: Did you hear?...

TKO Holdings signs licensing deal, strong growth fuels SportsArt hires, Savvier granted injunctions against two distributors, plus much more...
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For the week of Nov. 16-22

>> TKO Holdings Ltd. is licensing two of its brand names, "TKO Fitness" and "Cory Everson by TKO Fitness," to the AB & Thigh Trainer System, which will be sold on TV. According to TKO, the AB & Thigh Trainer is "a versatile system that has been tested and proven to tone the body's central core when used as directed." Launching this winter season, the 30-minute TV segment features Cory Everson, a TKO spokesperson, fitness expert and six-time Ms. Olympia. "Not only is this in keeping with our mandate to grow market share in the multi-billion dollar fitness industry," said Garry Kurtz, TKO's president and CEO, "it is an important step in our articulated branding strategy: to build awareness of TKO's innovative and proprietary products in print, broadcast media and on the Internet." Details at www.tkogear.com.

>> SportsArt Fitness has hired Amber Hurley as a marketing assistant. Hurley has worked in radio in the Seattle area and has a degree in journalism and public relations. In addition, Brian Davidson is now the company's commercial sales director. Both hires are partly due to company growth in both retail and commercial markets: SportsArt is headed toward about a 40 percent growth for 2004; it will also complete the rollout and have available all 28 pieces in its new selectorized strength line by the end of 2005.

>> Savvier LP, makers of direct-to-consumer programs Six Second Abs and Body Flex, was recently granted temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions against distributors in two states suspected of illegally distributing counterfeit Six Second Abs products. Court orders were granted against Drop Ship Solutions, of Brooklyn, N.Y., by the U.S. District Court, New York Eastern District; and against Salco International, of Clearwater, Fla., by the Florida Middle District court. Cease-and-desist letters have been served against several other distributors, and investigations continue with additional actions pending, according to a statement by Savvier (www.savvier.net).

>> As part of a marketing initiative, The Sports Authority is adding an expanded line of strength and cardiovascular fitness equipment from The Nautilus Group in 300 of its stores, upping its SKUs to 10 per store. Sports Authority will also be testing a new on-floor brand concept in 15 of its Northeast stores. In a section labeled "Make Room for Fitness," Nautilus brands will be showcased with consumer information on working out with the home exercise equipment. The assortment will include stationary bicycles, home gyms, strength and cardio equipment from either the Schwinn Fitness or Bowflex brands. The companies also will introduce new promotional programs for the winter shopping season.

>> Everlast Worldwide has signed a licensing agreement with Dafran S.A. of Buenos Aires for the development of a line of Everlast men's, women's apparel and footwear. Everlast Worldwide will continue to exclusively manufacture and supply boxing gear for professional boxers throughout the world. Planned for fall 2005, the products produced by Dafran S.A. will be distributed in Argentina and Uruguay through department stores, sporting goods, athletic footwear retailers and boutiques.

>> Jeff Dilts will leave the National Academy of Sports Medicine as of Nov. 30. According to an email sent by Dilts to friends and colleagues, "I will be taking some much needed time off and then returning to pursue new opportunities within the health and fitness industry in the New Year." Dilts has always held positions with Cybex and FreeMotion Fitness. In his stead, contacts at the NASM are: Karen Perlmutter, national accounts manager, karen@nasm.org, 818-595-1216; Ben Tucker, corporate accounts director west, bentucker@nasm.org, 602-882-3164; or Maxwell Thompson, corporate accounts director east, Maxwellthompson@nasm.org, 704-609-3409. Dilts can be reached at dilts@sbcglobal.net or 714-292-1719.

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