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About Us

Athletic Business logoBorn 35 years ago as a magazine devoted to a sports industry just beginning to think of itself as an industry, Athletic Business has grown to become an internationally recognized multimedia brand. Athletic Business is read in print by more than 40,000 qualified subscribers (and tens of thousands more online) representing colleges and universities, high schools, park and recreation departments, military branches and bases, health clubs, YMCAs, professional sports teams, stadiums and arenas, sports architecture firms, and hospital and corporate wellness centers. Readers turn to AB for award-winning editorial content, as well as to view products and services offered by leading advertisers. Year after year, AB ranks as the industry's "best read" magazine by Readex Research, and leads all competitors in total advertising pages, according to Patterson Advertising Reports.

In addition, the annual Athletic Business Conference and Expo, now approaching its 31st anniversary, brings the industry's most diverse attendee base, comprehensive trade show and expansive seminar lineup (with continuing-education credits recognized by 10 separate organizations) to networking destination points nationwide. The launch in June 2009 of the company's most dynamic website to date marks a renewed dedication to delivering the "must have" content readers have come to expect monthly in the pages of Athletic Business, but with the convenience, immediacy and research functionality that can only be found online. Finally, since Jan. 10, 2011, AB readers have benefited from even more timely - if not breaking - industry-specific content found in the company's daily e-news.

Company History

For decades, decision-makers in the multibillion-dollar athletic, fitness and recreation industry have regarded Athletic Business as their "must read" resource for the latest and best information available to help ensure their professional success. That has been the goal ever since Fenton Kelsey Jr. debuted Athletic Purchasing and Facilities in February 1977 out of a small office in Madison, Wis.

Kelsey was an active board member of the Amateur Hockey Association of the United States (now USA Hockey), serving on numerous organizational committees and publishing the organization's magazine. Kelsey's role in the construction of Hartmeyer Ice Arena, which as Madison's first indoor rink became integral to the rebirth of the University of Wisconsin men's hockey program, led to his realization that no reference guide dedicated to sports facility owners and operators existed. In short, Kelsey personified his new magazine's target audience. "The advent of equal women's athletics, the growth of physical education and intramural athletic activities, and the increasing cost of equipment and facilities … make the responsibilities and actions of athletic administrators more exacting than they have ever been," he wrote in that first issue.

Kelsey's name graces the award presented annually to the most competitive player on the Wisconsin men's hockey team, which captured its sixth NCAA championship in 2006. Hartmeyer Ice Arena still proudly serves as home to many of Madison's youth, interscholastic and adult hockey programs. And Athletic Business continues to welcome a broad and dedicated audience of athletic, fitness and recreation administrators into its professional-development circle - in more ways today than ever.

Our Awards

Athletic Business had already built a decades-long reputation among athletic, fitness and recreation professionals as the industry's must-read magazine by the time we began, in 2006, submitting select articles and columns for peer review. Our loyal readers' judgment was immediately affirmed.

That year, Paul Steinbach's College Sports column garnered a Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award, considered the Pulitzer Prize of the business media. A year later, Andrew Cohen's coverage of military fitness and recreation earned an American Society of Business Publication Editors National Gold Award for Editorial Excellence. In 2008, ASBPE honored both editors and their columns - with a regional gold award for Steinbach, and regional silver for Cohen, this time for his work exploring the for-profit fitness industry. AB's winning streak continued in 2009, as Nicholas Brown and Michael Popke garnered ASBPE regional silver and bronze honors, respectively, for their monthly columns covering recreation and high school sports, while the entire editorial staff earned regional bronze recognition (for "best regular department") for AB's monthly news digest, Game On. AB again mined ASBPE regional gold in 2012, as Rob Bishop and Barry Klein, co-owners of Elevations Health Club in Scotrun, Pa., were honored as authors of the monthly For-Profits column.


ASBPE Regional Gold Award for Editorial Excellence, 2012
Best Contributed Column presented to Athletic Business and Rob Bishop and Barry Klein for "For-Profits" columns
The Big Payback Sales Pitch
The Big Payback
By: Rob Bishop and Barry Klein
April 2011
Sales Pitch
By: Rob Bishop and
Barry Klein
December 2011

ASBPE Regional Silver Award for Editorial Excellence, 2009
Best Staff-Written Column presented to Athletic Business and Nicholas Brown for "Recreation" columns
Gun Play Duty Calls
Gun Play
By: Nicholas Brown
August 2008
Duty Calls
By: Nicholas Brown
October 2008

ASBPE Regional Bronze Award for Editorial Excellence, 2009
Best Staff-Written Column presented to Athletic Business and Michael Popke for "High School Sports" columns
Checks and Balances Gas Crunch
Checks and Balances
By: Michael Popke
March 2008
Gas Crunch
By: Michael Popke
July 2008

ASBPE Regional Bronze Award for Editorial Excellence, 2009
Best Regular Department presented to Athletic Business and its editors for "Game On"
Game On Game On Game On
Game On
By: The Editors
April 2008
Game On
By: The Editors
May 2008
Game On
By: The Editors
June 2008
 

ASBPE Regional Gold Award for Editorial Excellence, 2008
Best Staff-Written Column presented to Athletic Business and Paul Steinbach for "College Sports" columns
This Old 'Big House' Unplanned Parenthood
This Old 'Big House'
By: Paul Steinbach
April 2007
Unplanned Parenthood
By: Paul Steinbach
November 2007

ASBPE Regional Silver Award for Editorial Excellence, 2008
Best Staff-Written Column presented to Athletic Business and Andrew Cohen for "For-Profits" columns
Fit for Giving' A Fad with Legs?
Fit for Giving
By: Andrew Cohen
May 2007
A Fad with Legs?
By: Andrew Cohen
August 2007

ASBPE Regional Bronze Award for Editorial Excellence, 2008
Best Feature Article presented to Athletic Business and Paul Steinbach for "The Pressure's On"
The Pressure's On
The Pressure's On
By: Paul Steinbach
March 2007


ASBPE National Gold Award for Editorial Excellence, 2007
Best Staff-Written Column presented to Athletic Business and Andrew Cohen for "Military" columns
Kirk's Army War and Peace
Kirk's Army
By: Andrew Cohen
April 2006
War and Peace
By: Andrew Cohen
October 2006

Jesse H. Neal Business Journalism Award, 2006
Best Staff-Written Column presented to Athletic Business and Paul Steinbach for "College Sports" columns
Charity Stripes Dance Fever Savage Love Rape on Tape
Charity Stripes
By: Paul Steinbach
May 2005
Dance Fever
By: Paul Steinbach
June 2005
Savage Love
By: Paul Steinbach
August 2005
Rape on Tape
By: Paul Steinbach
November 2005

Editorial Staff

Michael Popke, Managing Editor Michael Popke, Managing Editor
Mike joined Athletic Business in 1993 as a part-time editorial assistant, and has since 1999 penned the High School Sports column. He lives with his wife, Lisa, and children Kayla and Tyler in Sun Prairie, Wis., where he coaches Little League baseball and middle school softball, and serves as a USA Swimming-certified stroke-and-turn official.
Paul Steinbach, Senior Editor Paul Steinbach, Senior Editor
An Athletic Business editor since 1999, Paul garnered a Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award in 2006 for his monthly College Sports column. Paul lives in West Bend, Wis., with his wife, Deanne, and children Jack and Libby. In his spare time, he enjoys mowing patterns into his backyard ballpark, the naming rights to which are still available.
Emily Attwood, Associate Editor Emily Attwood, Associate Editor
Emily became the newest member of the Athletic Business team in 2011. AB's Recreation columnist by day, she spends her nights typing away at what she hopes will someday turn into a novel that other people will find worth reading. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Emily continues to enjoy living in the city and biking to work, except during winter, when she doesn't enjoy much of anything.


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