Richard “Dick” Lipsey, founder, president, and CEO of SBRnet with a long career in supporting research for the sporting goods industry, passed away on May 15, 2020 at the age of 89. Lipsey underwent bypass surgery for a heart attack and was set to return home when he contracted COVID-19.
His death was related to the NSGA by his son Rick.
Lipsey helped develop the NSGA Sports Participation in the U.S. study. He also collaborated with former NSGA Research Director Tom Doyle on a book “The Sporting Goods Industry: History, Practices and Products,” that was published in 2006 and provided a valuable examination of the sporting goods industry for professionals and students.
“Dick Lipsey had an unbelievable entrepreneurial spirit and made a great career from providing valuable information and research data,” said NSGA President and CEO Matt Carlson. “Dick left a lasting legacy on the sporting goods industry and made a huge impression on the students he worked with through the years.
“He was a wonderful supporter and friend to so many of us at NSGA through the years. We offer our condolences to his family, colleagues and friends.”
Lipsey was a marketing research director for three top consumer goods companies – Motorola, Inc., and Helene Curtis Industries, Inc., in Chicago and Liggett & Myers (now The Liggett Group) in New York – before coming to the sporting goods industry.
His sports business career began in the 1970s when he became vice president and director of the Leisure Time Research Division of Audits & Surveys, Inc., a leading market-research firm in New York City. Lipsey created and managed ongoing studies of consumer attitudes and behavior for the sporting goods industry. He also introduced the concept of syndication to the sports industry for consumer studies and retail auditing programs for golf and team sports equipment.
In the 1980s, Lipsey served as director of sports research for The NPD Group. He created and implemented ongoing point-of-sale research programs and managed the development of syndicated consumer studies of the sporting goods market. Lipsey also founded Sports Market Place, a sports industry directory that served all segments of sporting goods and sports marketing industries. The directory included more than 10,000 organizations and 27,000 executives.
“Back in the 1980s when my Dad was publishing Sports Market Place, it was before home computers of any note were around, so he used the big computers at Princeton to do his book,” Rick Lipsey said. “He would often do computer work at night, renting time, because it was cheaper at night. And he often worked alongside John Nash, the famous mathematician whose story became the hit movie ‘A Beautiful Mind.’ My dad would joke that he and Nash thought alike, and I think they really did, seeing things way beyond what most others see.”
Dick Lipsey sold Sports Market Place in 1996 to become the founder, president and CEO of SBRNet. The Sports Business Research Network is a leading provider of sports marketing research in the United States and offers an all-encompassing perspective on the sports business. Lipsey recently rebranded his website as Sports Market Analytics, which is a service of SBRNet.
In 2008, Lipsey co-founded CollegeSportsConnect.com to help high school and junior college student-athletes and their parents and guidance counselors. CSC was designed to address the challenge of identifying the unique academic and athletic opportunities that were available in a simple format that also contained important advice for students and parents.
Lipsey earned his business degree from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he captained the golf team and received his MBA from the University of Chicago School of Business. He was also an instructor at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT since 2003.
A small family service was held for Lipsey, who would have turned 90 in July. He asked for donations to go to Special Olympics New Jersey at sonj.org.
Photo courtesy Lipsey family