40 years of groundbreaking content

When Fenton Kelsey Jr. launched Athletic Purchasing and Facilities in February 1977 out of a small office in Madison, Wis., his goal was to create a must-read resource for the latest and best information available to serve the athletic, fitness and recreation industries.

For the past four decades, Athletic Business has continued to serve as an information authority for these industries, not only reporting on but driving many of the major developments that have shaped the industry.

Gender equality

Title IX was introduced in 1972 and became one of the fundamental challenges faced by athletics administrators.

Baylor Women's Basketball Team

Risk management

As an increasing number of Americans got physical in the early '80s, many sought legal remedies for their fitness-related injuries.


The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law in 1990, heralding a new era of inclusion for athletics, fitness and recreation facilities and programming.

leed and sustainability

LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) has become standard in construction vernacular since its 2008 debut, and the concept has revolutionized the way buildings are envisioned and operated. It wasn’t until 2007 that we saw the first LEED sports facility Washington Nationals Park, and college and municipal recreation centers weren’t far behind.

Top: Phillip Merrill Center in Annapolis, Md. (first LEED-certified building in the world). Middle: Washington Nationals Park in Baltimore (first LEED-certified sports venue). Bottom: Student Recreation Center at University of Colorado (LEED Platinum certification).

The Athletic Business Architectural Showcase

See more LEED projects and learn more about the evolution of building design by checking out the Architectural Showcase.


military fitness

The armed forces were once recognized as the epitome of fitness, setting an example for would-be service members, athletes and everyday exercisers alike. Their reputation for fitness has waned, however, prompting unprecedented efforts to redefine through updated protocols and standards what it means to be “battle ready.”

SHOW and tell

In 1982, Athletic Business (then Athletic Purchasing and Facilities) hosted its first conference in a small ballroom in Chicago. Over the past 35 years, the AB Show has grown into a place where representatives of the athletic, fitness and recreation communities can come together and share ideas and solutions to help drive the industry forward.

Show floor from 2016 Orlando FL


From the simple rectangular pools of the mid-20th century to the modern waterpark, pool design has brought new levels of fun and relaxation to the otherwise healthful aquatics experience. Along the way, advancements in pool systems and equipment, water quality and monitoring, and lifeguarding technologies and techniques have helped make the experience safer than ever.

To capture the complexity of the modern aquatics facility, Athletic Business launched the Aquatic Design Portfolio in 2015.

January 2017 issue of Athletic Business Magazine


The advent of synthetic turf revolutionized field sports, but it wasn’t all fun and games. Early fields came with risks of abraded skin, sore joints and heat-related injuries. Turf has gotten safer in some respects, but the materials used in today’s synthetic systems remain controversial.


Athletic Business has been there for many more landmark moments in the athletics, fitness and recreation industries, and we're looking forward to being there in the decades to come.

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