As the American Football Association gears up for their first ever National Convention/Seminar/Semi-Pro Football Trade Show - representatives from a few football equipment and related services companies have already signed up to take part in the football trade show. Company names familiar in football circles like Wilson Sporting Goods, Adams USA, Neuman Gloves, Jostens Championship Rings & Awards, DJ Orthopedics, Cutter Gloves, Sadler Sports Insurance Company have already contracted for 'table-top' display space. Several other big name football equipment manufacturers are expected to come on board within the next few weeks.
The semi-pro football big weekend will be held at the Oakbrook Terrace Hilton Suites/Drury Lane Convention Center located about 15 miles due west of downtown Chicago. The convention is the first of its kind for the semi-pro football level and will see representatives from teams and leagues coast-to-coast gathering together in the Windy City to exchange ideas, renew old acquaintances, attend seminar meetings - and chat with football company reps about their teams upcoming equipment needs.
Companies manufacturing football helmets, shoulder pads and other protective equipment as well as footballs, gloves, health aids, nourishment replenishing drinks, fund-raising items and ideas, equipment refurbishing, championship rings and awards, team and league health and liability insurance and other football related service companies - have already contacted the AFA national office for information about exhibit space at the trade show.
It is hoped the AFA 'Convention/Seminar/Trade Show' will attract many of the 800 semi-pro adult amateur football team owners across the country as well as a good showing of commissioners and league administrators from the 65 different leagues that operate during the year in the United States.
"The idea of the semi-pro football 'Trade Show' is to bring our team owners, coaches, GM's and league administrators together with the football equipment industry reps in an attempt to prove that of our level of the sport is truly a market niche they should be interested in selling their equipment to", said the AFA President, Ron Real. "With some 800 plus organized teams playing semi-pro ball on the adult amateur level - we hope to convey a message of potential sales opportunities to football manufacturers across the country".
While the semi-pro level's annual team equipment budgets pale in comparison to that of college or high school football, none-the-less the players on those 800 teams still have to purchase a ton of equipment each year - from someone.
It's difficult for the manufacturers of team sports to understand that on the semi-pro level most of the expensive protective equipment is purchased by the individual players and not by the teams. The players want to know which companies are providing the best equipment protection at an affordable price. Semi-pro level coaches and equipment managers often help spread the word on which brand name football equipment the players should purchase during the year.
While the semi-pro football convention/seminar/trade show is still a little more than 3 weeks off - the AFA national office has been impressed with the number of inquiries it has received from team and league administrators wanting to know more about the AFA's big weekend (June 4/5) in Chicago and how their owners, GM's and coaches can attend. It is anticipated that as many as 300 semi-pro football teams will be represented at the AFA's events of Saturday June 4th. Team and league reps from California, Texas, Washington, Minnesota, Florida, North and South Carolina, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania have already committed to hotel rooms and travel accommodations. A very large turnout of team reps from the Mid-Western area is expected as well. Early attendance commitments have already come from teams within driving distance of Chicago such as Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa and Missouri. Illinois alone will have some 40 teams suiting up for the 2005 semi-pro season. Most Illinois teams are expected to have representation at the June 4th AFA convention.
Admission to the AFA Trade Show is free-of-charge to all AFA 'card carrying' members as well as AFA Hall of Fame Alumni. Individual membership applications to the AFA National Association will be available at the door for a tax-deductible donation to the AFA of $10 or more. Team owners, GM's coaches, league administrators and game officials can register in advance by sending an e-mail to the AFA national office (email@example.com) with your interest in attending the June 4th Semi-Pro Football Convention/Seminar/Trade Show in Chicago. Be sure to give your full name, address, phone number, and the semi-pro team and league you're associated with as part of your e-mail 'pre-registration' request.
Keep in mind that tickets for the AFA's 25th Annual Hall of Fame Induction Dinner are still available at $50 each and must be ordered and purchased by May 31st. The Induction Dinner will also take place at the Oakbrook Terrace Hilton Suites/Drury Lane Convention Center (main ballroom) starting with cocktails at 6 PM and dinner being served at 7 PM. Sunday morning the AFA will sponsor both a coaches and officials clinic, also at the Hilton.
Football equipment companies (and football related services) interested in learning how they can display their products at the June 4th convention may contact the AFA national office at 941-388-3510 or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Hilton Suites Hotel management has made a special room rate of $96 (per night) available to those mentioning they are with the American Football Association. Their toll free number is 1-800-HILTONS. Be sure you say you are looking for reservations at the Oakbrook Terrace (Illinois) location. Their local phone is 630-941-0100.
A complete agenda of the June 4th events can be downloaded from the AFA website (www.AmericanFootballAssn.com).