Slinger Bag, makers of a portable tennis ball launcher, announced that Mike Ballardie has been named CEO of the company.
Ballardie brings to Slinger Bag his extensive market knowledge and brand leadership experience in the global tennis industry including most recently as CEO of Prince, one of the world’s leading tennis brands. The move comes on the heels of Slinger Bag’s successful crowdfunding campaign last year, which raised over $1 million.
“I have been involved in tennis all my life – as a player, a coach and as a business leader,” said Ballardie. “The opportunity to lead Slinger Bag as its CEO is both a tremendous honor and a privilege. Slinger Bag is an innovation that can both change the face of tennis and stimulate tennis participation irrespective of age or ability. Together, we will fill a large, untapped gap in the tennis marketplace.”
Ballardie started his tennis business career at Wilson in the late 1980s where he spent 11 years growing and ultimately leading their EMEA Racquet Sport division. Immediately prior to joining Prince, Mike worked for VF Corp., where he built the international business for their JanSport brand. Ballardie also served for many years as a Board Director for the Tennis Industry Association (TIA) both in the USA and in the UK.
The Slinger Bag is a modular tennis bag that incorporates a fully-functional tennis ball launcher that holds up to 144 balls, as well as offering players space to store their equipment including rackets, bottles and towels.
“Mike has a deep knowledge of, and passionate commitment to, both the tennis industry and the tennis community,” says Slinger Bag founder, Joe Kalfa. “He is a proven business leader who has successfully brought several high-performance innovations to market for leading global brands. We are excited that Mike has recognized the market potential of Slinger Bag and are looking forward to working together with Mike to build Slinger Bag into a global tennis brand over the coming years.”
With an estimated global population of 1.2 billion people either playing or being regular fans of tennis, the global tennis market is valued at over $10 billion.
“Slinger Bag’s portable, easy and cost-effective tennis solution is accessible and easy to use for players and fans alike and is set to become a household name in the sport,” said Juda Honickman, Chief Marketing Officer for Slinger Bag.
Slinger Bag is currently in the final stages of development and will be available to consumers worldwide this summer. Slinger Bag Ltd. is headquartered in Raanana, IL with offices in New York and Canada. Ballardie will be based out of a new international office in London.