Nicole Espey, Executive Director of the German Association of the Sporting Goods Industry – Photo: BSI
Nicole Espey has been Executive Director of the German Association of the Sporting Goods Industry (Bundesverband der Deutschen Sportartikel-Industrie – BSI) since 2014. The association is patron of spoga+gafa and spoga horse in Cologne.
150 leading German sporting goods manufacturers, importers and wholesalers are currently members of the association that was founded in 1910. Most of these are medium-sized companies. The BSI is a member of the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI) and thus also a member of the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI).
Mrs Espey, what does being the patron of a trade fair actually entail?
Espey: That is an important part of the classic association work. Being the patron means we actually have a contract with the trade fair and also engage in a close dialogue with the fair. Together we work out how the trade fair can further develop in terms of content for instance, which main themes should be set or which new trade fair formats should be offered. We inform the trade fair about current developments within the industry and about the needs of our members - i.e. the potential exhibitors. A very intensive exchange prevails between the trade fair and the association. For example, employees of the trade fair regularly take part in our meetings.
Recreational sport is primarily what is interesting for the Cologne trade fairs. What are the developments in this section?
Espey: We classify all sporting activities that people practise outside of clubs or fitness studios as being recreational sport. We are expecting this section to also continue to be a very strong pillar of the sporting goods industry in 2019. Last year, at Euro 3.16 the turnover with bicycles and e-bikes alone reached a top value. In addition to swimming, cycling is still one of the most popular sports in Germany. A trend that will also no doubt continue to be very popular, is the usage of wearables to enable performance optimisation: Currently here in Germany Euro 375 million is turned over a year with the sale of fitness trackers and co.
Of course, sports and games also take place in one's own garden. One only has to think about the theme trampolining, which has firmly established itself over the past years. The garden remains to be an important place especially for children, because it is a protected space where they can frolic around in the summer. Climbing frames or inflatable pools are of course a must. But many people are also very active in the public green spaces of the cities. Slacklines have for instanced developed into a trend sport here and boules is also very popular because it is a social and communicative recreational pastime.
The stands of the BSI members will once again be predominantly located in the "garden living" section of the trade fair this year. Some of them also have garden furniture and camping equipment among their 'product ranges alongside sports equipment like table tennis tables.
Now I have a personal question for you? Are you a sports and garden fan yourself?
Espey: Tennis, skiing and hiking – those are my favourite sports. And I place the priority in precisely that order. Of course, I am also very keen on the garden. However, I prefer to use it as a place for relaxing and celebrating.
For further information: bsi-sport.de