Business Edge for Thursday May 10 2001

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THE NUMBERS ARE IN: And they give a good look at where golf fits into U.S. sporting goods purchases.
 
The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association has released its report on the wholesale value of sporting goods shipments in 2000. Golf equipment that left the loading dock was worth $2.524 billion in 2000, up just $2 million from 1999. Wholesale ball sales were level at $760 million. Club sales were $1.266 billion in 2000, up from $1.237 billion in 1999. All other golf equipment accounted for $498 million in 2000 sales, down from $525 million in 1999.
 
To put that in perspective, consider that the national mania for exercise drove $3.6 billion exercise equipment market in 2000, up from $3.47 billion in 1999. More money was made in treadmills in 2000 ' $925 million ' than was made in golf balls that year.
 
Other than exercise gear, no other major sport multi-item segment did as well as golf in 2000. Many did worse: Camping, $1.67 billion; fishing, $960 million; basketball, $375 million; baseball; $440 million; tennis, $238 million.
 
But the running shoe segment, at $2.6 billion, surpassed golf all by itself.
 
Total wholesale value of U.S. sporting goods sales last year? Just less than $65.5 billion.
 
CALLAWAY, SUMITOMO EXCHANGE LICENSES: In a sparsely worded statement, Callaway Golf said it agreed with Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. of Japan that Sumitomo could use Callaways undercut iron technology and Callaway could use Sumitomos metalwood technology. Callaway would not discuss the specific technologies involved.
 
Before Callaway opened its wholly owned Japanese distributor, Sumitomo distributed Callaway products in Japan. The Far East has always been a leading region for Callaway, even in times when U.S. sales seemed to flag in the golf industry.