Spalding is introducing a new worldwide vision to unify and grow its well known, 129-year old business. In addition to expanding its predominant position in basketball, the high quality sporting goods manufacturer plans to expand its business in existing and new categories.
Spalding is also contemporizing its marketing initiatives with a new icon and consumer tagline, “TRUE TO THE GAME,” which will be rolled out in all future marketing communication pieces. Marketing efforts will include public relations, promotion and a new advertising campaign and website.
“Our new consumer-oriented global brand and distribution strategy is a megabrand platform for future growth driven by our ongoing development of innovative products and plans for category expansions,” stated Scott H. Creelman, president and CEO of Spalding.
As part of Russell Corporation, Spalding was combined with recent acquisitions American Athletic, Inc. and Huffy Sports in 2004, to create the Spalding Group. Today, with a reported $400 million in worldwide trademark sales, the Spalding Group represents the largest basketball equipment supplier in the world. In December of 2004, it signed an eight-year exclusive equipment contract with the NBA. Internationally, Spalding is affiliated with professional leagues in 53 countries, including a new long-term China League Agreement. According to Creelman, Spalding plans to grow its business in football, soccer, volleyball, baseball and softball with the initial product focus on balls and the channel focus on institutional and competitive play.
“Companies who are winning today have a competitive advantage either in scale or in understanding consumer demand and satisfying the marketplace,” stated Rick Kash, founder of the Cambridge Group, a strategic consulting firm. “Spaldings heritage in basketball is evident with retail customers and consumers. Their expertise coupled with the new management team will create dramatic growth given the Brands heritage and commitment to innovation and should logically lead to creating demand in other sports categories.”
“Our history is impressive, our products innovative and our brand recognized, but it was vital to better unify ourselves globally while evolving our heritage and marketing for the 21st century,” stated Dan Touhey, vice president of marketing, Spalding. “A.G. Spalding built the brand in 1876 by providing authentic products to consumers and our philosophy has not wavered. But with a new contemporary position, were telling the world that Spalding is authentic and here to serve the game and the athletes who play today.”
The familiar and traditional Spalding word mark and “bowtie” design will remain, however, a new icon an italicized and dimensionalized S encased by a spherical graphic – will be incorporated on Spaldings products and packaging around the globe along with its new tagline.
“The circle S indicates motion and exemplifies us as a well equipped sports Company, and TRUE TO THE GAME says were authentic with a high level of respect and confidence in our ability to perform as consumers, athletes and as a company.” said Touhey. “Its a no glitz, no hype message that delivers a promise to respect the power of sport. It also strongly suggests that Spalding will continue to provide the highest quality equipment and strive for the latest innovative developments to remain a leader and authority in sport.”
TRUE TO THE GAME will be introduced through a new global advertising and communications campaign, “SPALDING, TRUE TO THE GAME” beginning in the first quarter of 2006 as new products become available with the new identity elements.
According to Touhey, Spalding plans to leverage its associations with the NBA, AFL and other league affiliations as well players. A new brand video features NBA All-Star and Boston Celtics superstar Paul Pierce, NBA Commissioner David Stern and AFL Commissioner David Baker that showcases support and belief in the Spalding brand which has transcended athletic fields and courts for well over a century.