FITNESS INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Background of Corporation
Fitness Information Technology (FIT) was incorporated in 1984 as a subchapter S corporation. In 2004, FIT’s assets were used to merge FIT publications under the umbrella of West Virginia University. FIT is now the principal publishing arm of the International Center for Performance Excellence, School of Physical Education, West Virginia University.
The mission of the company centered initially on the marketing and distribution of commercially produced sports and exercise videos. In 1988, FIT refocused its mission in an effort to become recognized as a premier publisher of textbooks in the sport psychology field. An academic reference book, the Directory of Psychological Tests in the Sport and Exercise Sciences, was the first book published by the company. This book provided a comprehensive overview of sport- and exercise-specific psychological tests that have been reported in the scientific literature over a 30-year period. The book received critical acclaim in publications such as the International Journal of Sport Psychology and is now available both as a printed edition and online as an electronic database. The book served as the impetus for numerous subsequent publications by FIT in the sport psychology field.
In 1992, FIT began publication of its first journal, the Sport Marketing Quarterly (SMQ), as it sought entry into the academic field of sport management. Dallas Branch, professor of sport marketing at West Virginia University, served as the publication's first editor. Dr. Branch assembled some of the world's leading sport marketing experts to serve on the editorial board of the journal. The SMQ is a publication designed to bridge the gap between sport marketing research and the needs of sport marketing professionals working in the corporate world. Today, under the editorship of Jacquelyn Cuneen, professor, Bowling Green State University, the SMQ is recognized internationally as a premier sport marketing journal with a subscriber base in more than 20 countries.
The company grew significantly in 1995 when it published Financing Sport, the first textbook in the newly conceived Sport Management Library. At that time, a coalition of professionals working under the umbrella of the National Association of Physical Education ~ASPE) and the North American Society for Sport Management ~ASSM) established the NASSM-NASPE accreditation standards for college and university programs in sport management. Recognizing the need for textbooks to accompany the academic courses that were identified by this accrediting body, FIT initiated a sport management textbook series titled the Sport Management Library. Members of the NASSM-NASPE accreditation board, who are now recognized world-wide as leaders in the field of sport management, were invited by FIT to serve on an editorial board to oversee the development of undergraduate student sport management textbooks. Janet Parks, a professor at Bowling Green State University, served as the initial editor-in-chief of this innovative series. The board established a mission statement for the library series and role responsibilities. The board assisted FIT in identifying internationally recognized authors in the sport management field, and FIT was successful in signing book contracts for these individuals to serve as textbook authors for this series.
To accommodate the growth experienced by publication of the Sport Management Library, FIT expanded its world-wide distribution network. Contracts were signed with book distributors in the United Kingdom, Portugal, Australia, and New Zealand. In addition, FIT was one of the early publishing leaders in the field to use the worldwide web as an aggressive marketing tool.
In 1998, FIT expanded its mission by establishing a trade book division for books written for the general public. FIT began this venture by publishing the highly successful book titled Exercising Your Way to Better Mental Health. Trade distribution contracts were signed with Book World in Sarasota, Florida, and with Hushion House in Toronto, Canada. These agreements fostered US sales in bookstore chain outlets such as Waldenbooks and Borders, online web sales with Amazon.com, and sales with major bookstore chains in Canada.
In 1999, FIT ventured into electronic publishing with its first online database, the Directory of Psychological Tests in the Sport and Exercise Sciences. In addition, FIT made available on its website, for a small fee, electronic downloads of all articles published in the Sport Marketing Quarterly. Chapters of several reference books were also entered in the database and made available as fee-based downloadable products. To achieve its objectives for electronic publishing, FIT purchased and now maintains its own computer server.
Recently, FIT expanded its mission by establishing an electronic psychological test division. In the fall of 2002, FIT published the first of many sport- and exercise-specific psychological tests, the Group Environment Questionnaire, online. FIT intends to become a national clearinghouse for the dissemination of electronic psychological test products. While there are over 100 psychological test companies in the United States alone, none of these companies publish sport- or exercise-specific psychological tests. FIT views its venture in this area as a logical extension of the marketing niche it has established in the sport psychology field.
Today, FIT continues its leadership role as an international publisher in the sport and exercise field. As the principal publishing division of the International Center for Performance Excellence, School of Physical Education, West Virginia University, FIT seeks new publishing alliances with international organizations, new international book distributors, and has signed translation rights agreements for many of its works.
FIT publishes approximately 45 textbooks, reference books, and trade books, an academic journal, electronic databases, and electronic test products in sport psychology, physical education, coaching education, sport management, recreation, and sport sociology. Its sales extend to more than 30 countries. Book distributors promote sales for FIT in the United Kingdom, Mexico, throughout Europe, in Southeast Asia, and in Australia and New Zealand. Trade book distributors have helped ensure that FIT's books are widely sold in bookstore chains in the United States and Canada. FIT's books are actively sold by Amazon.com as well as on FIT's own website. Relationships with more than 20 wholesalers ensure that FIT's books are adopted by college and university libraries. FIT has established a partnership with the International Society of Sport Psychology (ISSP) in which FIT now hosts this professional organization's website and serves as the principal publisher for ISSP products. FIT signed an agreement with the Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology to publish the electronic version of the widely acclaimed Directory of Graduate Programs in Applied Sport Psychology.
Recently, a new international sport marketing association was established, the Sport Marketing Association (SMA). The SMA has identified the Sport Marketing Quarterly as its anchor journal; a subscription to the SMQ will be included within the membership fee structure of the SMA. Further, FIT has agreed to host the new SMA website and publish the proceedings of this organization's first annual conference held in the fall of 2003.
FIT's sport psychology titles encompass all concentrations in the field (e.g., counseling college student-athletes, assessment, group dynamics, sport injuries, exercise psychology, and career transitions). FIT has introduced to the public a new series of sport psychology trade books that is titled the Sport Psychology Library. The series editor-in-chief is Shane Murphy, former director of sport psychology services at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Each book in the series is co-authored by a distinguished sport psychologist and a world-renowned athlete or coach. For example, Sport Psychology Library: Gymnastics is co-authored by Karen Cogan, a sport psychologist and Peter Vidmar, a former Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics.
FIT's very successful sport management library textbook series has been adopted by numerous colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and Australia. The series has expanded to include titles such as Fundamentals of Sport Marketing, Legal Aspects of Sport Entrepreneurship, Financing Sport, Developing Successful Sport Marketing Plans, Media Relations in Sport, Economics of Sport, and Sport Facility Planning and Management. One of the titles in the series, Ethics in Sport Management, received an award at an international sport management conference in Europe as the best textbook published in the sport management field. Recently, FIT launched an online instructor center. Course instructors who adopt some more popular textbooks for classroom use can now download PowerPoint presentations compatible with the contents of each textbook.
As the publishing branch for the International Center for Performance Excellence (ICPE), FIT’s capital is now used to support the educational mission of the ICPE. It is expected that international workshops, online distance learning courses for professionals seeking continuing education units, international conferences, and service and research grants will become important components of the mission of the ICPE. In this way, FIT can help the ICPE achieve its long-range mission of being recognized as a world-wide leader in the delivery of information services.