It's the story of names you only know if you know them and transactions that only matter if you have any stakes in their game. But to those to whom it does matter, and who know the players, this is some interesting news we Snooped.
At this point those of you who recognize none of those names will depart. The rest of you, Snoop onward!
The first names to know are the WNBF and the INBF (World Natural Bodybuilding Federation and International Natural Bodybuilding Federation, respectively). For all intents and purposes, they are the same thing; the WNBF is one organization among several that designates bodybuilders as professional, and the INBF is it's amateur-level branch.
The second name to know is Nancy Andrews. If you're a competitor in the Northeast for any length of time, you have probably encountered this name, and if you haven't yet you will soon. In New England, Nancy is a big deal. Over a decade or so of promoting contests, she was a phenom in her competitive days, winning the WNBF's biggest annual prize four times over. More importantly, she sits as an influential player in the game of natural bodybuilding in the Northeast, made all the more impressive by the idea that bodybuilding is not generally known for it's female leaders.
Nancy is, by default, a minor, local feminist icon. Like her or hate her, she is inarguably important to the development of the sport in the Northeast. Even though "The History Of Natural Bodybuilding In New England" will be an infrequently-read tome, she will go down as a key figure for certain.
And now she owns a league.
Well, technically she co-owns it, along with a Mr. Bob Bell and a Ms. Tina Smith. But Nancy's is the name most recognize, so hers takes logical top billing.
This news falls somewhere on the border of niche interest piece and "Oh, really? That's nice." But for those on the interested side of that line, it has impact.
The initial word is that, at first, little will change and much of the WNBF/INBF's current cadre of voices will stagy squarely in place, at least as "advisors" if not part of the league's decision making.
What is the scuttlebutt? Well, the standards of Nancy Andrews shows will now most likely become the common denominator standards for the whole league. Many love Nancy's events for their scale and focus on the athletes, and many disparage the high price points and no-frills, stay-in-the-lines atmosphere. In other words, as with all things, there's good and there's bad.
What is more fascinating is how the "home base" of operations is moving to an environment already rife with competition for the teeny, tiny market share that is drug-tested bodybuilding. Massachusetts has always had dozens (literally) of competitions, and while recent years the total numbers have fallen, it still is the epicenter for drug-tested bodybuilding in New England. And now it has a major (relative) player taking up residence. One can only speculate what comes next. (Spoiler: expect more New England local events over the years.)
Likewise, this will up the stakes for the rapidly-grown megalith organization known as the OCB (Organization of Competitive Bodybuilding). The OCB has literally ransacked the New England area, stealing away many previous INBF/WNBF competitors over the past five years and thus becoming the new main player in the drug-tested bodybuilding arena in the region. The OCB's own annual big-deal competition is now based in Massachusetts, and more and more of the league is taking up holdings here.
But the rapid growth has cause the OCB to come under near constant criticism and scrutiny by competitors. Originally the beacon of freedom, now they become their own disgruntled nation. It is likely to speculate that, with the strengthening of the WNBF/INBF in Massachusetts, there will be a pendulemic swing back to the INBF by many of the OCB competitors.
It's too early to know what – if any – influence this purchase will have. But the one thing we do know: there is still know end in site for the squabbling among drug-tested bodybuilding leagues, each one angling for it's own lion's share of the market. Like too many chickens trying to fight over not enough seed, this additional pressure from the WNBF/INBF in the region can only exacerbate the lack of universally-recognized standards in the sport.
With good news in drug-free bodybuilding always comes new headaches shortly after. So, congratulations to the new owners, but lease pass the aspirin.