On September 19, Founder Sport Group, formerly Badger Sportswear, acquired Teamwork Athletic Apparel, one of the pioneers in sublimation technology in the team uniform space.

Claiming to be the fastest manufacturer of sublimated and recreational sports apparel, Teamwork’s proprietary technology, initially developed to cater to mass quantities of customized team uniforms, allows them to rapidly manufacture even the most complex orders within the quickest time frames. Turnaround is same-day in most cases, but even complicated personalized mass orders are doable within a lead time of three to ten days. with no minimum order sizes or set-up costs, typically, the lead time for such a highly customized product would be six to eight weeks.

Fiscally, the brick and mortar retailer is unable to provide customers with large amounts product without suffering from excess inventory. Teamwork’s technology and no-inventory business model all-together eliminates this issue. Founded in 1987, Teamwork is based in San Marcos, CA, and has a manufacturing plant in San Luis de Colorado, Mexico.

Beyond quick-turn custom sublimation and additional production capacity, Teamwork brings Founder Sport Group new licensing agreements with over 600 organizations, including a host of colleges, fraternities and sororities. Teamwork’s premium sportswear brand is Prosphere.

Teamwork represents the third acquisition completed by Founder Sport Group in less than a year. Alleson Athletic, a leading supplier of in-stock and custom sublimated athletic apparel and game uniforms based in Rochester, NY, and Garb Athletics, a boutique manufacturer of custom-tailored sports uniforms based Salt Lake City, were both acquired in November 2017.

CCMP Capital in August 2016 acquired Badger Sportswear, a leading supplier of team uniforms and performance athletic wear under the Badger Sport. Recently, Badger Sportswear changed the company’s name to Founder Sport Group to reflect the new acquisitions.

Here, SGB talked to John Anton, CEO of Founder Sport Group, about what attracted the company to Teamwork Athletic Apparel, what changes can be expected and the consolidation opportunity in the team uniform space.

What drove the deal?  The ownership at Teamwork was looking for ways to take their business to the next level and generate more value for some unique technologies they have pioneered. We saw an opportunity to add industry-leading, quick-turn, custom sublimation capabilities and other patent-protected technologies to our company, grow our production capacity and gain access to some attractive new licensing agreements. Together, we can meet a wider range of customers’ needs both on and off the field.

Why does Teamwork bring to Founder Sport Group and vice versa? Founder Sport Group will gain significant capabilities in custom sublimation and uniform design and decoration, including patented technologies that enable design, production and delivery of customized sublimated apparel at industry-leading turnaround times. Teamwork will benefit from Founder Sport Group’s larger customer base, its sales and marketing capabilities and its access to capital to help grow the business.

What changes could be expected? Teamwork will continue to operate as a stand-alone company based in San Marcos reporting to John Anton.

Founder Sport Group and CCMP Capital Advisors have been busy consolidating the team dealer uniform space. What’s driving that opportunity? This is all about acting on opportunities presented by an evolving industry and executing our strategy. We are moving fast because we see terrific opportunities to grow profitably in this business. It is a consolidating market, and we are convinced the consolidators–the long-term winners–will be the companies that can offer a broad range of complimentary products that deploy smart digital technologies to streamline operations and shorten delivery times, that invest in new product development and that consistently deliver superior customer service.

Russell recently exited the team uniform business due to inherent challenges servicing the space. How is the overall team uniform category doing? We continue to be bullish on the team uniform space. Obviously, the commercialization of custom sublimation has been a major driver of category growth, and we believe we are now one of the largest custom sublimation companies in the world, capable of quickly meeting any of our customers’ diverse needs.

Are you looking to acquire more team uniform suppliers or skillsets? We are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to add complimentary products as well as tap technologies that make us the easiest and fastest company to do business with in our industry.

Photo courtesy Teamwork Athletic Apparel