Fitness: Did you hear?...

Com' on dooooown to a Horizon treadmill, CRAIN's lists Buckley as top paid CEO, Michigan most active state NSGA says, think customer notice before modifying your company's privacy policy, NY Yanks challenge Red Sox to dump the blubber, and much more…
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>> Com' on doooooown!!! That's the nearly infamous line that Bob Barker shouts out at the audience when members join the price-guessing action onstage on "The Price is Right" TV game show. We were waiting for a flight recently and glanced up at a TV on in the background in the waiting area showing "The Price is Right" to see a Horizon Fitness logo flashed up on the screen – wait, what was that??!? We scrambled closer to see a really cute blonde in hot pink hot pants flouncing along on a treadmill as Barker described the features for the four contestants to guess the price. Came the guesses: $1,400, $1,900, $1,300, and $1,700." Buzzer sounds. NONE are close enough to count! Round 2: $1,195, $1,199, $899, and $1,200. "Com' on down," shrieks Barker to the one who guessed $1,199. We checked in with the folks at Horizon to see what this was all about. Turns out the company has been involved in TV game shows nearly since it was founded three years or so ago. Guess we at SNEWS® don't watch much daytime TV. Companies give the products to the show, which then rotates them into the game as needed. When somebody wins one, the show staff calls and the company, Horizon in this case, ships one out. "It generates some brand awareness," said spokesman Mike Olson for Horizon, "and it doesn't cost much either." SNEWS® View: Not a promo we would have thought of but, dang, this is great. Especially with the price-guessing game. We wonder how many viewers have said, Wow that treadmill for only $1,200? And headed off to a store to look at one.

>>In a recent list in CRAIN'S, the Chicago-area business journal, was a list of the area's top paid CEOs. No. 18 was Life Fitness-parent Brunswick Corp. CEO George W. Buckley (57). CRAIN's showed his total package as $6,633.5 with a salary of $1 million and long-term incentives totaling $3,503.5. The company was ranked No. 25 based on revenues. Buckley was ranked 5th among those getting the highest bonus. His was listed as $2,130.0, behind only No. 1 Bank One, then Nuveen, Allstate and Sara Lee CEOs. Interestingly, the CEO of former Precor-parent Illinois Tool Works came in 6th for his bonus (but was third based on overall package or nearly double Buckley's). www.chicagobusiness.com

>> Gold’s Gym International’s largest single U.S. franchisee, Royce Pulliam, owns 14 locations and plans to open seven more in the next 18 months. Pulliam has the largest exclusive development territories in Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio. Last year, he purchased franchise rights from The Tan Company (TANCO) CEO Todd Beckman and has recently incorporated TANCO superstores in his Nashville and Hermitage gyms. The director of TANCO operations, Brian Johnson, plans to open five more superstores at Pulliam’s gyms in Lexington and Cincinnati by the first quarter of next year. “Todd Beckman’s TANCO superstore concept is working very well for us,” Johnson said in a statement. “TANCO and Gold’s Gyms have a great synergy between them -- they help drive each other’s new membership base and strengthen the retention capabilities between both.”

>> Think your state is physically active? According to recent National Sporting Goods Association stats, Michigan wins that honor of the 11 largest states with 56 percent of the U.S. population. NSGA’s Sports Participation index indicates how likely it would be for a person in a given state to participate in a specific sport or activity (the survey looks at 34). In the NSGA Index, the national average for each sport or activity equals 100. The index is created by dividing a state’s percentage of participants in a particular activity by its percentage of the U.S. population and then multiplying by 100. If for example a state has an index of 200, its residents are twice as likely as others to participate in a given activity. Among the most populous states, Michigan has NSGA Participation Indices of 100 or more in 24 of the 34 activities surveyed for 2003. Those sports/activities include, among others, backpacking (115), bicycle riding (132), exercise walking (100), running/jogging (127), and working out at club (116). California (11 percent of the U.S. population) and North Carolina (3 percent) ranked second with 22 participation indices of 100 or more, followed by Illinois (4.4 percent) with 20, New York (6.7 percent) with 19 and New Jersey (3 percent) with 18. The survey -- “Sports Participation in 2003: State-by-State,” a report published annually by the NSGA -- is available from the group for a fee. For more information, contact the NSGA Research Department, 847-296-6742; e-mail: info@nsga.org.

>> The Harvard Heart Letter has bypassed the debate about how long you need to exercise to maintain optimal health by suggesting that it's best to focus instead on the amount of calories you burn. According to the July issue, the findings of a recent Harvard study showed that burning an extra 700 to 2,000 calories a week through exercise provides substantial health benefits. The number of calories you burn depends on several factors: your weight, the intensity of your workout, and the duration. The Letter recommends finding points of reference for how many calories you burn during a variety of activities and using them as targets when choosing an exercise routine. Here are a few benchmarks from the letter, all given for a 155-pound person: Walking briskly (at 4 miles per hour) for 30 minutes, 150 calories; heavy cleaning for 45 minutes, 250 calories; an hour of singles tennis, 300 calories. The more you weigh, the more calories you burn. http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart

>> On July 8, Sears, Roebuck and Co. (NYSE:S) announced that its comparable domestic store revenues for the month of June were down 3.1 percent for the five-week period ending July 5, 2004. Total domestic store revenues at $2.55 billion were down 4.4 percent compared with last year’s numbers. Unusually cool weather and a slow Father’s Day were cited as reasons for the decrease in revenues. “As we discussed during our off-mall growth strategy announcement, June revenues for Sears, like other retailers, were below expectations,…” Sears Chairman and CEO Alan J. Lacy said in a statement. “In our home group, Sears experienced moderate growth in seasonal lines such as lawn, garden and patio products, but that was offset by the pronounced decline in air conditioning revenues due to cooler weather." In other Sears news, the company has established the new leadership position of president of Sears retail. Part of the next step in the company’s new growth strategy, the position will include responsibility for existing U.S. Sears stores and leadership of the recently announced off-mall plan. For more information about this company or its financial reports, as well as to view stock prices updated every 15 minutes, visit the SNEWS® Stock Market Updates. Click on: www.snewsnet.com/cgi-bin/snews/stock_report.html

>> Wal-Mart’s (NYSE: WMT) reported net sales were $26.972 billion, a 9.3 percent improvement from last year’s five-week period. The company’s division sales were up 8.3 percent to $18.1 billion for the five-week period. Sam's Club's sales were up 7.8 percent to $3.645 billion and the International Division’s sales were up 14.4 percent to $5.216 billion. For more information about this company or its financial reports, as well as to view stock prices updated every 15 minutes, visit the SNEWS® Stock Market Updates. Click on: www.snewsnet.com/cgi-bin/snews/stock_report.html

>> New Balance Canada recently announced a corporate partnership with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and will be a national sponsor for this year's CIBC Run for the Cure, the largest single-day annual fundraiser for the fight against breast cancer. As a key element of the corporate partnership, New Balance will support research funding and promote awareness of breast cancer. The company will also give prizes for the top fundraising teams in Run for the Cure and will establish New Balance Survivor Clinics, a program that will provide breast cancer survivors support and networking opportunities while they train for the event with Running Room. "We are more than thrilled to enter into this partnership because it extends New Balance's corporate partnership with breast cancer research community support across North America," Jon Ram, general manager for New Balance Canada said in a statement.

>> UNITED KINGDOM -- The 2002 General Household Survey, has revealed a steady decline in sports participation by adults across the United Kingdom between 1996 and 2002 – from 48 per cent to 43 per cent. However, the report also revealed that the number of people who participate in sport competitively has increased significantly over the period. Some 40 percent of men who engaged in sport in 2002 played competitively compared with 32 per cent in 1996. Meanwhile, 45 per cent of women who took part in sport in 2002 received tuition compared with 27 percent in 1996. Sport England has responded to the survey by reaffirming it strategy to drive up sport participation by 1 percent, year-on-year, until 2020. According to the organization, the heart of its strategy rests upon increasing sports participation by establishing key foundations, including creating multi-sport hubs, investing in modern community facilities and sustained campaigns to educate people to be more active. CEO Roger Draper, said: “These findings endorse our new business case and I am not surprised that participation rates during this period have dropped. Details: www.statistics.gov.uk or www.sportengland.org

>> Don't even think of trying to modify your company's established privacy policy without first notifying your customers that you plan to make a change. That's the message from the Federal Trade Commission this month as it agreed to a settlement with Gateway Learning Company. The FTC brought federal charges against Gateway for renting names and contact information to target marketers, despite the fact in the company's privacy policy it states explicitly that contact information is kept strictly protected and private. The FTC charged that, after collecting consumers’ information, Gateway Learning changed its privacy policy to allow it to share the information with third parties without notifying consumers or getting their consent. This is the first FTC case to challenge deceptive and unfair practices in connection with a company’s material change to its privacy policy. The proposed settlement bars Gateway Learning from making deceptive claims about how it will use consumers’ information and from applying material changes in its privacy policy retroactively, without consumers’ consent. It also requires that the company give up $4,600 it earned from renting the data.

>> What's up with Yankees fans and their sudden weight obsession? New York announcer John Sterling got so jazzed about his recent weight loss that, during a June series with the Red Sox, he picked out nine of the fattest Yankees fans and challenged them to shed major pounds. Well, we're crying foul ball. As Charlie Brown would shout at Lucy from the mound, "There's no Weight Watchers in baseball!" Just like there's no crying in baseball. Good grief. You wanna drag a few fans onto the field and see who can spit the farthest -- now there's a good baseball promotion! But a fat-loss competition? Should we really subject our national pastime to America's obesity freak-out? The situation could get out of hand. Just a few months ago, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner did Letterman's "Top Ten Good Things About Being a New York Yankee." And what was number 3? Drum roll, Paul! … "Pinstripes make your butt look slimmer!" Back in the old days, Yankees fans never worried about big bottoms. After all, Ruth hit 60 homeruns on a steady diet of beer and hot dogs. When asked to say something nice about Ruth, Ty Cobb even admitted, "He runs pretty good for a fat man." You wouldn't hear that today. No way. In modern baseball, weight's a touchy subject. Remember how steamed pitcher Terry Forster got when Letterman called him a "fat tub of goo" back in '85? Well, we begrudgingly say good luck to Sterling and the other big guys from the Big Apple. The promotion runs through the season, so we'll check back in October. In the meantime, if you're going to the concession stand, could you buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack? Thanks.

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