Having only been around since 1981, the Australian Sporting Goods Association (ASGA) has done an exceptional job at making their presence known and their voices heard. ASGA represents retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and other groups within the sporting goods industry in Australia. Their goal is to not only represent the interests of these groups, but also to provide services, and advocate on their behalf to both the government and the community. “And obviously to develop and grow the businesses that are involved in our industry,” says Brad Kitschke, the executive director at ASGA. Brad has been working with ASGA for only a year but has accomplished a great deal in such a short amount of time.
Fair Imports Alliance
ASGA acts as the secretariat and spokesperson for the Fair Imports Alliance. The Fair Imports Alliance is a coalition of 9 industry associations working together towards the reform of import regulations. ASGA has run the alliance and has made it rather successful. “We’d been working together on an ad hoc basis for a number of years, but never had come together formally under one banner. We’re the spokesperson and the secretariat so we run the alliance,” says Kitschke. “We’ve been quite successful in creating a brand and an identity, and the ability to recognise the issues and the brands of the Fair Imports Alliance. We’ve done that in the last 6 months, essentially from nothing, to it now being quite a recognisable brand.”
In addition to the representation that ASGA provides, they also serve many other benefits to their members. “We do market intelligence surveys. We survey the market to provide factsheets, contract manuals, information about trade practices, and developments in the industry,” says Kitschke.
ASGA has taken a policy position on sports participation in schools. They play an important role in advocating for an increase in athletic participation and mandatory physical education in schools. ASGA runs the Careers in Sport job portal which offers a skill matching program for employers to match employees with vacancies. ASGA also conducts a variety of workshops and seminars with the Australia Retailers Association. These workshops provide members with skills, information, and access to service providers to help them with online retail. While they don’t currently have any green initiatives, they certainly have plans for the future. They want to get the Australian sports industry involved in a project similar to Nike’s “reuse-a-shoe” program in the US. This program takes used shoes and melts the rubber to reuse it for other goods.
No industry goes without their struggles
“We’re not unlike any other industry involved in retail,” says Kitschke. ASGA and its members have also been affected by the current global financial crisis. “The GFC has made a huge impact on retail. There has been a reduced overall household spending.” However, over the last 2 months there has been an increase in spending, most likely due to the after effects of the Queensland flood.
The future of ASGA and its members
In the face of challenges, ASGA has a positive outlook for the future of the organisation and its members. They have addressed two main goals for the near future. “Continue to grow our membership and continue to grow our service offerings that we have to our members. Ensuring that we are relevant and current, and providing services to our members that are relevant to their businesses and meet their needs. Also to grow our role as an advocate, to make sure that the issues that our affecting our businesses and our members are able to get close to the forefront of consideration by the government.”