A Family's Passion
The company that is now NAMG was founded on June 1, 1978 - originally
as the North American Hunting Club. Paul and Steve Burke, father-son
and lifelong hunting partners, recognized the uncommon bond shared
by their fellow hunters. In the woods, at the lodge, or in their
communities, hunters talk. They talk a lot. They share the thrill
of the hunt, the tip passed down from father to son, the excitement
of their next adventure. The Burke's felt this niche was underserved
and founded North American Hunting Club as a way to bring hunters
together and share their love for the sporting tradition - not just
"in-season," but year-round.
"The Model" is Born
Throughout the 80's, the Burke's learned a lot about the psyche of the true "enthusiast." Readership of the fledgling North American Hunter grew rapidly and became a loud voice in the industry. The magazine by itself could no longer support
members' thirst for knowledge and the business quickly expanded into instructional books, videos, and in-person get-togethers known as "Jamborees."
Realizing that hunting and fishing are cross-over pastimes, the company tested the waters with a 2nd club - the North American Fishing Club - in 1988. The Club was an instant success. The emotional connections that so powerfully engaged hunters had an identical impact on avid fishermen. The company name was changed to North American Outdoor Group, Inc.(NAOG) to reflect the growing expertise in the outdoor space.
NAOG continued to define and refine a model that has proven to be very repeatable over the following decades—attracting members with well-written copy, gaining their trust through an expertly produced magazine, and creating outlets for them to share their stories.
Growing… And Not Just Outdoors
The 90's began a period of rapid growth for the company as we
branched out into more popular enthusiast categories—launching
clubs appealing to handymen, gardeners, golfers, and cooking enthusiasts.
In addition to books and videos, we began developing and marketing custom merchandise to our members - items handpicked by our editors and worthy of the reputation we'd built with our audience. We also expanded our video production capabilities with the kick-off of a decade-long relationship with ESPN to produce on-air television programming.
The clubs were a consumer and a commercial success and investors quickly took notice. North American Outdoor Group was purchased from the Burkes in 1995 by CUC International, a publicly traded membership company. The Burkes may have left the business, but the majority of the management team they built remains in place today.
Under CUC's ownership, we invested aggressively in the business.
Membership, which began the decade below one million members, swelled
to over 3 million. During this time, we negotiated our first licensing
partnership, with the PGA TOUR, as we launched the PGA TOUR Partners
Again, our success attracted the attention of a new investor and in 1999 the company was acquired by Doughty Hanson & Company—one of Europe's largest private equity fund managers. In 2007, the New York-based Pilot Group acquired NAMG from Doughty Hanson.
Our Integrated Content Platform
The new millennium has seen the birth of new clubs focusing
on wellness, home arts, history, custom car, and motorcycle enthusiasts.
Our launch of The History Channel Club and History Channel Magazine
in partnership with A&E Television Networks transformed the "history"
In 2008 we partnered with Major League Baseball to launch the MLB Insiders Club—the only officially sanctioned club of Major League Baseball.
In 2000, we changed our corporate name to North American Membership
Group, Inc. to reflect our diversity of offerings. Overall membership
is now over the 4 million member
and we can boast that over two million of our members have now made
lifetime membership commitments.
Our relationship with our members is evolving with the rise of new technologies. We are committed to reaching members in the media that they desire—print, digital, live events and broadcast. This has propelled us to integrate our media and allow advertisers to reach our members across all of our platforms. We are making significant investments to continue to move our book and video archives online, and to use our print, digital and broadcast assets along with Facebook and YouTube to create the fully encompassing social network that our members want.
Regardless of how our members choose to consume media, NAMG is
committed to providing them with useful, instructional, and entertaining
content and products, now and in the years to come.