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BAM Unites Brunswick Tradition With Valley-Dynamo Experience

Posted On: 10/18/2007

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GRAND PRAIRIE, TX -- The new amusement machine division of Brunswick Billiards and Bowling will stage its official launch this November in Orlando at the IAAPA Attractions Expo. At the annual parks show, Brunswick Amusement Machine will have its own exhibit, apart from other Brunswick divisions, which includes coin-op table-game maker Valley-Dynamo.

The formation of BAM, announced in late July, signals Brunswick's increasing interest in the coin-operated recreation market. And the new endeavor has hit the ground running with its first product, Ultimate Tic Tac Toe, an inventive prize-merchandiser offering immediate recognition.

"BAM combines the Valley-Dynamo experience in the coin-op industry with the Brunswick tradition," said Valley-Dynamo president Dave Tomizuka, who is overseeing the division's strategic development. He points out that Brunswick has been in the recreation business for 160 years, and its considerable power can lend support to the channel value of such companies like Valley-Dynamo and BAM.

Today, Brunswick Corp., headquartered in Lake Forest, IL, is a leading manufacturer of products for the billiards, bowling, fitness and marine industries; it reported $5.7 billion in net sales in 2006. It acquired Valley-Dynamo, based here, in 2003, a move that positioned the company as the world's largest manufacturer of billiards, foosball and air hockey tables, giving it full entry into the coin-op world.

Chris Brady, a longtime Valley-Dynamo marketing executive, has been named vice-president of the BAM division and will report to Tomizuka.

Brady was involved in marketing prize merchandisers when Valley-Dynamo served as a master distributor for LAI Games (Perth, Australia), which ended the partnership last November after opening its own U.S. office in Dallas. Among the LAI machines that Valley-Dynamo helped to establish in the American market were Lighthouse and Stacker, which were designed to offer high-end prizes as incentives. Stacker introduced the progressive prize system, which offers patrons the prospect to win minor prizes before trying for major, high-end merchandise.

"The prize merchandising category has been a dominant game category recently," Tomizuka noted. "It's a good niche, and we can meet demands even though the market is much more competitive than it was two years ago."

The Valley-Dynamo president observed that merchandisers offer repeat play appeal when they employ the incremental, minor-to-major prize value structure. "Players can get their arms around it," he noted.

An integral part of BAM's product development strategy will primarily consist of two parts. First is the examination and evaluation of branding games through licensing opportunities. "People are comfortable with what they know," Tomizuka said. The second element is the study of the practical applications of technology, mainly connectivity and networks. "Coin-op is linking to the greater Internet community," he observed, "but how do we make this grow?"

And not unlike other Brunswick companies, BAM will seek out the best distribution methodologies for its products in the coin-op space. "When we add new products," the Valley-Dynamo president said, "they may not fit into the old methodology. We are taking a different approach for each product."

Using Valley-Dynamo's table game lines as an example, Tomizuka points out that the marketing and distribution methods of each game type -- pool, foosball or air hockey -- will be determined by whatever serves the best interest of that product. "We will look at each product as having its own P&L," he said.