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Skate Summit: Olympics, emerging markets, X Games, retail excitement

By Tiffany Montgomery
June 04, 2010 9:28 AM

I still have some interesting information in my notebook from various panels at the IASC Skateboarding Industry Summit.

Here is a roundup of tidbits that caught my ear there in a short summary form. For a more comprehensive report on the panels, see the IASC website.

Emerging markets

Costa Rica – with few places to skate, lifestyle apparel and shoes have the best potential.

Motocross is popular.

Boogie boarding and surfing are the most popular action sports.

Chile – Skateboarding is seen as positive activity, though hard to do with cobblestone streets and reckless drivers. Skateparks are growing.

India – All business is relationship based and working through networks is how business gets done instead of trade shows. When you negotiate, know you’re never done negotiating – build some padding into your final price so you can give more even when you think the deal is done. With retail, you need to look regionally and see who are the strongest players in different cities, and focus on the top 10 cities. Indians like all things California, and Bay Watch is a top show.

Parents are concerned about safety, especially with girls, who need to “marry up” and parents can’t have daughters breaking their teeth while skateboarding.

China – The middle class will grow to 400 million people in five years. Retail is archaic and not like in the U.S. With TV, ESPN and Fuel TV are getting into the market. With Trade Shows, ISPO is there, and other shows are emerging, and DMG (owner of Surf Expo) is looking to set up a show.

(For much more about China and action sports, see our interview with Glenn Brumage.)

Amateur skate competition panel

The biggest news I thought out of this panel is that the Federation Internationale de Roller Sports (FIRS) is trying to gain control of skateboarding in the Olympics.

Gary Ream, President of Woodward Camp and the International Skateboarding Federation, said whether the skateboard industry decides it wants to be in the Olympics or not, it needs to protect itself and make sure roller skaters don’t get control of the sport at the Olympic level.

Skateboarding also needs a more formatted pro structure with a common set of judging criteria and rules. Young judges also are important so the sport stays creative and based on youth, he said.

While some questioned whether pro skaters would compete in the Olympics if roller skaters were in charge, Gary said he believes the pros will show up because the opportunity is too massive. Just look at what has happened to Shaun White’s career.

On page 2: Why athletes go broke, retail and pro panels, ethical sourcing.

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