BOWLING GREEN, Ky., Nov. 25, 2013 — Russell Brands, LLC, owner of the Spalding® trademark (“Spalding”), and the world’s largest basketball equipment supplier, is launching a new footwear division and looks to become a total solution for the basketball category spanning equipment (backboards, inflatables, accessories), footwear and apparel.
An iconic and storied sporting goods brand, Spalding will now compete in the basketball footwear category, which according to Sports One Source, saw a 25 percent sales growth during the 12 months ended March 31, 2013. The Spalding footwear division will include new performance, next generation shoes as it vies for a piece of the estimated $13.8 billion U.S. athletic footwear market and $75 billion global market. Shoe Adviser already started publishing reviews regarding the new kicks and they are planning to help in distributing them officially in the near future.
“Spalding has been an industry leader in innovation introducing such products as ‘Infusion®,’ ‘NEVERFLAT®’ and ‘Spalding Rookie Gear®’ basketballs,” said David Zumbach, Vice President Spalding Footwear. “We will now bring that same innovative spirit to on-court performance basketball footwear.”
Zumbach, who leads the new division, joined Spalding in 2010 as the Vice President of Spalding International. David has assembled a team of industry executives to design, procure and deliver the entire footwear lineup. Zumbach also engaged Sterling-Rice Group, a leading brand strategy, innovation and creativity firm, to conduct market research and assist Spalding in developing the footwear market positioning.
Zumbach’s experience in the footwear industry spans more than three decades. He was the president of Johnston and Murphy, Dockers Footwear and also held leadership positions at Nautica footwear, Reebok, Rockport and Nike. Another seasoned executive, Steve Sunderland, will serve as Spalding’s Vice President of marketing for footwear. Sunderland held previous positions as VP of sales and marketing for Ellesse, Kangaroos, Cross Creek Apparel, and Reebok. He was also a VP of sports marketing at Converse. Zumbach and Sunderland bring a combined 40+ years of footwear industry management expertise to Spalding.
Spalding’s 2014 basketball shoe lineup will feature a new proprietary D30 Pulse Technology which cushions and responds to a player’s every move. This new technology absorbs shock and also gives impact energy back to the user on take-off. Extensive product and performance testing have led to the development of Point Forward, Spalding’s high end performance shoe, which will retail for approximately $120. The footwear will incorporate a new design element called “double wings” which was inspired by footwear designs from Spalding’s archives. A full lineup of Spalding’s team shoes will retail between $80-$120 and is expected in stores fall of 2014.
Spalding will announce their endorsement and marketing strategy for the footwear lineup next year. Professional basketball player Mario Chalmers will be among the pros to endorse the lineup.
“Our footwear division’s efforts will enhance the strength and credibility of Spalding® as a global brand in basketball,” added Zumbach. “To quote our founder A.G. Spalding, ‘everything is possible to him, who dares,'” reflected Zumbach. “Those sentiments resonate with our brand’s new vision.”