industry trends

Timeline: Industry Innovations and Trends

Timeline: Industry Innovations and Trends

Did you ace our industry quiz? Enhance your knowledge even more with our comprehensive timeline of industry trends and innovations—from rebate plans to stay-to-play to custom uniforms—and find out how they came to fruition. (Please note: this is a living document! We are continually updating and adding more information. If you would like to add updates to our timeline, please email us at


Rebate Plans

2005 — Spirit Celebration creates its own rebate plan (attend 2 events = 15% back; 5 events = 20% back; 6 events = 20% back + a cruise)

2006 — Varsity Family Plan is introduced

2008 — The JAM Brands introduces the JAM Rewards

2010 — Cheer Ltd. and Mardi Gras Spirit Events join the Varsity Family Plan

2011 — IEP launches its I-Deal rebate program with companies like US Spirit on board

2011 — Epic Brands introduces Epic Rewards

2012 — Twisted Spirit introduces “Totally Twisted” gym profit program including elements of business advising, branding help and choreography service

2013 — Xtreme Spirit introduces Partner Brand Rebates (with partners such as Elite International Championship Series, Allstar Apparel, GlitzGirl Cosmetics, and Platinum Bows)

2014 — 15 companies including ACDA, Epic Brands and WSA join forces to introduce the “Season Pass”


Custom Uniforms

1999 — Teamleader launches its line of custom uniforms made in the U.S.A.

2008 — GK Elite makes its debut

2011 — Xtreme Spirit launches Allstar Apparel

2012 — Spirit Innovations merges with Varsity

2013 — Rebel Athletic signs on as Title Sponsor for Spirit Celebration’s 2013-2014 season

2014 — GK Elite launches a new sublimation line, “ink’d by GK”


Free Admission

2003 — All JAMFest events (except JAMFest Cheer Super Nationals) adopt a free admission policy

2011 — Spirit Celebration comes on as partner for “Cheer for Charity,” a free competition in Waco, TX benefiting cancer research co-hosted by Heart of Texas all-star gym

2011 — All Great Lakes Cheer Championship events (except Showdown Nationals) adopt a free admission policy

2011 — Epic Brands’ Reach the Beach Daytona event starts offering free admission to attendees

2012 — Reach the Beach Daytona adopts a free admission policy


Multi-Brand End of Season Events

1996 — Xtreme Spirit debuts its Elite International Championship

2004 — USASF hosts the first Cheerleading Worlds competition in Orlando, FL

2006 — NLCC companies (American Cheer Power, AmeriCheer, Eastern Cheerleaders Association, Cheer America, Spirit Unlimited and American Cheer and Dance Academy) hold the first Final Destination event in Baltimore

2008 — JAM Brands and NLCC (Epic Brands and Spirit Brands) collaborate to rebrand and reimagine Final Destination as The U.S. Finals

2009 — UCA/UDA hold the first International All Levels Championship

2010 — Xtreme Spirit holds the first Elite International Championship series, to which teams earn bids throughout the season at partner brand events

2013 — US Spirit debuts THE ONE Cheer & Dance Finals

2013 — GSSA signs onto the U.S. Finals team to produce its West Coast event

2013 — Varsity debuts The Summit, an all-levels national championship, to replace the International All Levels Virtual Championship

2014 — Powered by Twisted Cheer & Dance, the “aerial sporting event” All Star Games has its inaugural event in Las Vegas with multi-brand partnerships with Nfinity, GK Elite, COP Brands (Mexico), New Zealand Cheer Union and the All Star Games Federation.

2014 — Nfinity and Aloha Spirit Productions launch The Champions League with accompanying feature film debut



2005 — The Aloha International Spirit Championships in Honolulu begin requiring stay-to-play

2011 — Epic Brands events including Reach the Beach (Daytona, Ocean City All-Star and Ocean City Rec/School) and Battle of the Boardwalk join the stay-to-play fold

2011 — American Cheer Power adopts stay-to-play policies

2012 — Spirit Celebration switches from stay-to-play to “inform to perform” (providing flexibility to stay anywhere as long as accommodation information is provided)

2012 — NCA/NDA All-Star National Championships move to stay-to-play

2014 — JAMFest Cheer Super Nationals and Coastal Battle at the Capitol adopt stay-to-play policies

2014 — Cheersport institutes a stay-to-play policy starting with its 2014 National Championship


Red Carpet Events

2007 — The JAM Brands debuts LIVE! The Authentic Red Carpet Experience

2010 — Varsity introduces Encore Championships

2012 — Spirit Celebration launches AMAZING Championships, where teams compete to benefit a charity of their choice and get to promote their cause on the red carpet

2013 — Xtreme Spirit debuts Premier Series events

2014 — Spirit Celebration debuts the Crown Jubilee, a “royalty-themed” end-of-year event with a masquerade ball/awards ceremony the night before the competition and a red carpet at the event

Note: All U.S. Spirit Nationals events are now red carpet events (no date available)


By-Invitation Events

2012 — The JAM Brands debuts The Majors

2013 — GK Elite signs on as official outfitter of the All-Star Games

2013 — Epic Brands debuts The Reveal, The Debut and Future 5

2014 — GSSA/Aloha Productions partners with Nfinity as the event producer for The Champions League


Consolidation and Acquisitions

2003 — Spirit Celebration becomes official partner and host of CGA Small Gym Nationals; State Fair of Texas Championship; State Fair of Louisiana Championship; Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Fall Championship/Nationals events

2007 — The JAM Brands acquires America’s Best and Coastal

2008 — The JAM Brands acquires Great Lakes Cheer Championships and COA

2008 — America’s Best Championships and Spirit Innovations join the JAM Brands

2011 — ACDA/Spirit Unlimited become The Epic Brands

2012 — Spirit Innovations announces that it will now operate under Varsity Spirit Fashion

2013 — Xtreme Spirit acquires Wisconsin Spirit


New on the Scene

2010 — Twisted Spirit expands its focus beyond choreography to start offering events, starting with the Twister Treat event in New Zealand and Makin’ Noise for Toyz in Bloomington, followed by the launch of custom “3D events” (with live performances by Kickfull band) in 2012, and Unplugged (smaller-scale events) in 2013


Test Your Trends Knowledge!

Test Your Trends Knowledge!

With all of the developments in our ever-evolving industry, it can be hard to keep up. For handy reference, we’ve compiled a thorough timeline of how some of today’s hottest trends and innovations came about (and the companies that pioneered them). But before you check it out, take our quiz below to find out how much you know—then check out the answers below!




1. Which of these companies debuted its custom uniform line back in 1999?

a)    Ozone

b)   Teamleader

c)    Rebel Athletic

d)   Chasse’

2. What year did Varsity introduce its Varsity Family Plan?

a)    1998

b)   2001

c)    2006

d)   2009

3. Which of these companies was not among those who originally launched US Finals?

a)    Varsity

b)   Spirit Brands

c)    The JAM Brands

d)   Epic Brands

4. Which of these invitation-only events made a splash in 2014 with an accompanying feature film?

a)    The Revolution

b)   The Majors

c)    All-Star Games

d)   Champions League

5. In 2013, Epic Brands debuted three new events. Which of these was not one of them?

a)    The Summit

b)   The Reveal

c)    The Debut

d)   Future 5

6. What’s the name of Spirit Celebration’s royalty-themed end of year event?

a)    Cheer Kingdom

b)   Cheerlebrity

c)    Crown Jubilee

d)   Reach The Throne

7. Several events adopted stay-to-play policies in select cities in 2014. Which of these was not one of them?

a)    Cheersport

b)   American Cheer Power

c)    JAMFest Cheer Super Nationals

d)   Coastal Battle at the Capitol

8. What was The Summit called in its previous iteration?

a)    International All Levels Championship

b)   The Road to Worlds

c)    Battle of All Levels

d)   All Levels Challenge

9. Which two companies combined to form EPIC Brands?

a)    COA and Coastal

b)   Americheer and Great Lakes Cheer Championships

c)    ACDA and Spirit Unlimited

d)   Xtreme Spirit and Twisted Spirit

10. What current publishing company were the original founders of Cheer Biz News?

a)    American Cheerleader

b)   The Cheer Leader

c)    Inside Cheerleading

d)   CheerProfessional


1.) B: Teamleader debuted its custom uniform line in 1999.
2.) C: Varsity introduced its Family Plan in 2006.
3.) A: The event producers that originally launched U.S. Finals were Spirit Brands, JAM Brands and Epic Brands.
4.) D: The invitation-only Champions League event debuted in 2014 with an accompanying feature film.
5.) A: Epic Brands’ three new events in 2013 were The Reveal, The Debut and Future 5.
6.) C: Spirit Celebration’s royalty-themed end of year event is Crown Jubilee.
7.) B: American Cheer Power adopted its stay-to-play policies before 2014.
8.) A: The Summit was formerly called International All Levels Championship.
9.) C: ACDA and Spirit Unlimited combined to form Epic Brands.
10.) D: The publishers of CheerProfessional were the original founders of Cheer Biz News.