Following 20 years of operating separately, the ‘Sports Trade Think Tank’ and the ‘Outdoor Think Tank’ events are to be merged and will work jointly with the Outdoor Industries Association (OIA) on the development and promotion of Think Tank events to OIA members. Future Think Tanks will be known under the new name of ‘Sports and Outdoor Think Tank, in association with the OIA’.
The Think Tank events were originally conceived by industry veteran, Tim Drake and designed to bring together business owners, CEOs and senior management from the sports and outdoor markets for networking, and brainstorming events combined with a quality guest speaker who would deliver a thought provoking presentation on topical issues affecting business.
Think Tank owner and founder Tim Drake comments: “When the Outdoor and the Sports Trade Think Tanks began over 20 years ago, Blacks, Milletts, JD Sports, Reebok, Adidas, Converse and Nike, were all under separate management. Times change and markets consolidate. There are also increased time pressures on hard pressed busy chief executives and this has accelerated the thinking behind bringing both events together. CEOs who are members of both Think Tanks, such as Dom Speciale of Amer Sports, Ian Cameron of Hi-Tec and Mike Tomkins of M&M Direct have understandably become more vocal and are supportive of a merger.”
Tim has always felt there was a strong case for integration, but this was resisted by most of the members of both groups, who felt they were working in separate and distinct markets. The consolidation in both markets over recent years has strengthened the case for the integration of both Think Tanks.
OIA CEO, Andrew Denton commented: “The OIA has seen a real resurgence in recent years and the OIA has resurfaced as a strong influence within all areas of the outdoor market and is supportive of the case for working together, sharing ideas and pursuing common goals. It therefore seemed only right for the OIA Board and Tim to explore ways of working together to support each other in providing a service to the industry.”
Beginning in June this year, the two Think Tanks ‘in association with the OIA’ are uniting under one umbrella – ‘The Sport and Outdoor Think Tank’. The first meeting is scheduled for June 28th at Sport England’s centre of excellence, Bisham Abbey. Sport England will be discussing with Think Tank its plans for working with the industry to jointly promote the health benefits of outdoor activities. There are three Think Tank meetings per year, which will feature an expert speaker who will address relevant and topical business issues. The annual fee is £1000 per year, a percentage of which will now go towards the OIA in return for support and assistance with promoting and making future events a real success.