Dick’s Sporting Goods says it will provide equipment to women’s NCAA tournament after viral photos showed fitness room was lacking

FILE PHOTO: A Dick's Sporting Goods store is closed due to the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Washington, DC, U.S. April 10, 2020.      REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
A Dick’s Sporting Goods store is closed due to the outbreak of coronavirus in Washington

  • Dick’s Sporting Goods tweeted that it will bring fitness equipment to female NCAA athletes.
  • Viral photos showed that the women’s fitness room in the NCAA bubble was sparser than the men’s.
  • Players pointed out other unequal treatment including food and COVID-19 tests.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Dick’s Sporting Goods offered to bring fitness equipment to the NCAA women after viral videos revealed the unequal treatment female basketball players received from the organization compared to the men’s teams.

Stanford sports performance coach Ali Kershner shared photos comparing the setups for men and women provided by the NCAA. The men’s room was full of weights and professional equipment, while the women’s space appeared to only have yoga mats and small dumbbells.

A post shared by Ali Kershner, MS, CSCS (@kershner.ali)

Teams playing in the March Madness NCAA tournaments will be in a bubble for three weeks sharing hotels and workout spaces in Indianapolis until the sweet sixteen.

Critics have pointed out other discrepancies in the organization’s treatment of male and female athletes, from different food to even different types of daily COVID-19 tests.

Fans, players, and members of the media called further attention to the discrepancy on social media.

On Friday, sports retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods tweeted “Our teammates have worked quickly to get truckloads of fitness equipment ready” to bring to the women’s workoutroom, with photos of U-Hauls.

Orange Theory also tweeted that it will make studios available for female athletes to train.

The NCAA has also since released a statement. “We acknowledge that some of the amenities teams would typically have access to have not been as available inside the controlled environment. In part, this is due to the limited space, and the original plan was to expand the workout area once additional space was available later in the tournament” NCAA vice president for women’s basketball Lynn Holzman said in a statement to the media.

“However, we want to be responsive to the needs of our participating teams, and we are actively working to enhance existing resources at practice courts, including additional weight training equipment.”

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Dick’s Sporting Goods launches new men’s athleisure line to take on Lululemon

Dicks Sporting Goods VRST
Dicks Sporting Goods VRST.

  • Dick’s Sporting Goods is launching a men’s activewear line, VRST.
  • The line will have athletic wear and casual clothing.
  • Athletic wear has done well during the pandemic as overall apparel suffers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Dick’s Sporting Goods is launching a men’s athleisure brand called VRST to compete with Lululemon and other athletic brands.

VRST is a “men’s athletic apparel brand built for the modern active man who lives life on-the-go,” Dick’s Sporting Goods said in a press release. The line will include pants, joggers, shorts, tees, and hoodies priced from $30 to $120. It will be sold in Dick’s stores across the US, along with its own e-commerce platform.

Read more: Echelon Fitness’ CEO reveals how the connected-fitness company grew sales by 700% during the pandemic, thanks in part to its focus on accessibility

Activewear and athleisure have fared well throughout the pandemic of the past year as people increasingly turn towards comfortable, functional clothes. While apparel overall lagged behind other sectors, sporting goods saw 75% growth according to Adobe’s Covid-19 report. Apparel sales were down 34% between March and July, but shorts, sweatpants, and sports bra sales all rose.

Dick’s Sporting Goods, Athleta, and other brands reported increased demand for athleticwear in the second quarter of 2020. Target’s athletic brand All in Motion reached $1 billion in sales in 2020, within only a year of launching, Avery Hartmans reported for Insider.

Dicks Sporting Goods VRST
Dicks Sporting Goods VRST.

Athleisure brands like Lululemon have traditionally relied on women for the majority of sales, but they’re turning to men as potential customers, too.

Lululemon attracted men with casual wear and an office commute line. Specifically, the stretchy ABC (anti-ball-crushing) pant is one of the most popular in the line, Mary Hanbury reported for Insider in 2018. Dick’s and VRST seem to be going for the same customers with “a variety of commuter pants” in the new line for men.

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