Monday, June 13, 2005

The Game: Spalding 'True' To New Effort; Extreme Sports Flying High (Brand Week)

[If you're looking for the article on Kristin Armstrong, click here]

Caught these trail runner stats in this article from Brand Week. Not as big as paintball, apparently, but still big. ;-)


The Game: Spalding 'True' To New Effort; Extreme Sports Flying High
June 06, 2005

SPALDING plans to leverage its 129-year-old heritage with a "True to the Game" campaign that seeks to unify its equipment and sports marketing message with both corporate partners and consumers.

The effort will begin to reach consumers in the fourth quarter on TV and in print, via Winstanley, Lenox, Mass., with an ad spend expected to exceed 2004's $1.5 million, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. But the new tag and a new icon, an "S" in a circle above the Spalding logo, will immediately be incorporated into promos, packaging and online. Under the auspices of parent company Russell Corp., Spalding, American Athletic and Huffy Sports were united last year to create the Spalding Group, with $400 million in worldwide trademark sales, per Russell. "True to the Game" is its first effort touting a unified message.

"Consumers are familiar with the name Spalding, but they see a fragmented image," said Dan Touhey, vp-marketing. "We have more than 70 licensees worldwide. Up to this point we haven't done a very good job of unifying the message and in the consistency of the brand. This will be the bow that ties everything together."

Spalding, Springfield, Mass., has licensing deals with several sports entities, including the Arena Football League, NCAA, Major Indoor Soccer League and Pop Warner. But its alliance with the NBA and WNBA will remain front and center. "The NBA is the cornerstone of our platform, and we are looking for ways to work even closer with the league," said Touhey.

Spalding, which in December signed an eight-year exclusive equipment contract with the NBA, plans to work with the NBA Players Association to further expand its pro basketball relationship. The effort will be "print heavy," according to Touhey. A media buy is still to be determined, but likely will include such sports-centric and basketball-heavy mags as SLAM, ESPN, Inside Stuff, Sports Illustrated for Kids and Dime. "We have the heritage, authenticity, performance and quality," said Touhey. "This will represent the best of what Spalding has to offer as we move forward."

Gone Extreme

Extreme sports continue to grow in popularity. Inline skating, skateboarding and paintball totaled nearly 40 million participants in 2004 (17.3 million, 11.5 million and 9.6 million, respectively), according to a new report, Superstudy of Sports Participation. The survey of 25,000 people was conducted by American Sports Data, Hartsdale, N.Y. The top 10 list also includes (in millions): artificial wall climbing (7.6), snowboarding (7.1), trail running (6.5), mountain biking (5.3), wakeboarding (2.8), BMX bicycling (2.6) and mountain/rock climbing (2.2).

The report uncovers other stats of interest. Overall participation in paintball has grown by more than 60% since 1998, from 5.9 million to 9.6 million in 2004; and overall participation in trial running has grown nearly 25%, from 5.2 million to 6.5 million. The average age of an artificial wall climbing enthusiast last year was 20.2 years, of a BMX cyclist 24.7 years and of a mountain/rock climber 22.7 years.
(Brand Week, All Rights Reserved)


  1. Great blog, but please do something about those words following the cursor! They drive me mental.

  2. Alright, alright - I took off the cursor words. ;oP


  3. Well done! I can read your blog now without having epilepsy!


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