Inside the largest national distributor of clothing, footwear and sports equipment | National and International
If you’re attending a high school football game on a Friday night, it’s possible that every inanimate thing you see other than the grass on the field was purchased from BSN Sports LLC – uniforms, equipment, benches, bleachers, goalposts. , chain panels and sets, soccer balls, scoreboards, water coolers, misting fans, even the paint used for yard lines.
The same goes for just about all team sporting events at all grade levels all over America.
BSN is the largest distributor of clothing, footwear and team gear in the country, selling to 125,000 schools, leagues and institutional customers in literally every zip code in America. It distributes more Nike and Under Armor team sports products than any other company. And this year’s revenue is expected to exceed half a billion dollars.
But you’ve probably never heard of this 43-year-old company.
âWe are the best kept secret in team sports,â says Adam Blumenfeld, 44-year-old CEO of BSN and son of the company’s founder. âWe have over 500 vendors on the road who cater primarily to high schools, colleges, youth, and some sports clubs. We have a catalog division that serves parks and recreation services, clubs, camps, churches and prisons.
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âWe sell to kindergartens and Notre-Dame. But we are a business behind the scenes.
The property has been a rotating succession of private, public, ESOP and private equity transactions that have come with name changes, acquisitions, divestitures and sales fluctuations too numerous to enter.
âIn 2006, Terry and I put Humpty Dumpty back together,â says Blumenfeld. âWe have started to build this consolidated equipment and apparel business. It went from around $ 200 (million in revenue) to $ 250 (million) in 2010, âdespite the Great Recession and a tough government funding environment.
This year it is budgeting $ 525 million.
Ten years ago, BSN didn’t sell Nike, Under Armor, shoes or uniforms. It is now the largest distributor of team sports apparel for both as well as for many other brands. This segment will represent half of its 2015 sales and even more in the future.
The days of uniforms are over, says Blumenfeld. âYou are only going to buy a certain number of bleachers in your life as a sports director. But you are going to buy uniforms every year.
BSN’s technology allows its salespeople to view the inventory of its major clothing suppliers, design team uniforms on an iPad in the coach’s office, and ship the order to school in 24 hours. hours, says Blumenfeld.
Rob Held, Nike Teams Division Category Sales Manager, says BSN and the two top guys excel at building trust with schools and teams.
âAdam and Terry have equipped their employees with the necessary tools that allow them to spend more time selling and less worrying about after-sales work,â says Held. “Sitting still is not part of their vocabulary.”
During a tour of the head office, factory and shipping operations, Babilla asks everyone how long they have been with the company. The “Rookies” turn out to be the ones who have been around for less than 10 years. Most are veterans over 20 years old.
One of BSN’s fastest growing divisions has partnered with the Dallas Cooper Clinic to fight childhood obesity. Cooper has developed a heart-healthy curriculum and assessment tools that preschools and elementary schools need to obtain federal funding. BSN has developed products that fill 250 catalog pages and manage distribution.
âProducts range from gigantic fuzzy dice to squishy relay sticks,â says Blumenfeld.
Blumenfeld and Babilla will tell you that their mission is to save America’s youth – and not just by selling sporting goods.
âWe don’t cure cancer here. We understand that, âsays Blumenfeld. âBut we think we have a pretty high calling. There are 55 million children in school. All are in physical education, and a third of them play sports. We touch the lives of all these children in all of these communities. We like it.