Citing lack of sponsorship, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) “indefinitely postponed” its sixth-annual Fitness On Call event, originally scheduled for last Saturday, January 12, from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The event allows the public to call in and have their health and fitness questions answered by more than 40 certified fitness professionals, including well-known fitness celebrities. According to ACE public relations manager Kristie Paterson, no date has been set for the event’s rescheduling, and it seems likely that it will occur as part of another larger event, rather than on its own.
Last year’s Fitness On Call sponsors included Prevention magazine and the San Diego Union-Tribune, but this year brought no such sponsoring parties to the table. While the current state of the economy may be partially to blame for the lack of support dollars, Paterson also points to the past volume of calls as a contributing factor. For the past five years, 900 calls seemed to be the standard for the event, but didn’t constitute the hoped-for volume for a national event. This made it difficult to attract sponsors, says Paterson. And, in a Catch-22 situation, the lack of sponsorship also made it impossible to expand the event to draw a larger volume of calls. Another factor contributing to the low call turnout could be the access the public already has to health and fitness information via the Internet, Paterson says.
When asked about the likelihood of the event being rescheduled within the next six months, Paterson admitted that it probably wouldn’t happen, and said that ACE was looking to the future to create a new event with stronger chances at building sponsorship.
While stating that those at ACE were disappointed about the event not happening, Paterson says that perhaps the non-event would cause people to take note: “Maybe this will open the door for change — good change.”
For those who didn’t get the word about the event’s postponement, Paterson says that hotline callers heard a recorded message telling them that the event was postponed, and offering a voicemail or email address where they can send their questions.