By Barry Janoff
November 25, 2013: Already found in all NBA arenas and on many hoops courts around the world, basketball and equipment company Spalding said it would expand its presence by adding basketball shoes to its roster.
Spalding, which is the official basketball of the NBA, said it plans to become a "total solution for the basketball category, including equipment — backboards, inflatables, accessories — footwear and apparel."
The Spalding hoops footwear, scheduled to hit retail in Fall 2014, will be anchored by Point Forward, which Spalding described as a "high end performance shoe."
Spalding currently makes performance shoes for running, tennis and the outdoor categories.
Spalding, a division of Russell Brands, and the official basketball of the NBA since 1983, said it would support the launch with a marketing strategy to include player endorsements. Mario Chalmers of the Miami Heat is the first player to align with the brand.
Paul Pierce of the Brooklyn Nets is the lead spokesperson for Spalding basketballs.
The footwear division will be lead by David Zumbach, vp for Spalding footwear; and Steve Sunderland, vp-marketing for footwear.
Nike and its Jordan Brand division have more than 90% of the U.S. basketball shoe market, according to research and trade industry resource firm SportsOneSource, Charlotte, NC. Nike NBA player endorsements include LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant; Jordan Brand's roster includes Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and its namesake, Michael Jordan.
Adidas, a distant second in the category with about 6% of the market, has endorsement deals with Dwight Howard, John Wall, Ricky Rubio and Derrick Rose. Rose missed all of last season due to surgery on his left knee and, after playing the first month of the 2013-14 campaign, will miss the rest of the season due to surgery on his right knee.
Spalding, quoting figures from SportsOneSource, said the basketball footwear category experienced a 25% sales growth during the 12 months ended March 31, 2013. The U.S. athletic footwear market is estimated to be $13.8 billion and the global marketing $75 billion, according to Spalding via SportsOneSource.
"Spalding has been an industry leader in innovation introducing such products as Infusion, NeverFlat and Spalding Rookie Gear basketballs," Zumbach said in a statement. "We will now bring that same innovative spirit to on-court performance basketball footwear."
Spalding said its 2014 basketball shoe roster would feature a "new proprietary D30 Pulse Technology, which cushions and responds to a player's every move, absorbs shock and gives impact energy back to the user on take-off."
Point Forward will retail for approximately $120; the full lineup of Spalding's team shoes will retail between $80-$120.
"Our footwear division's efforts will enhance the strength and credibility of Spalding as a global brand in basketball," said Zumbach. "To quote our founder, A.G. Spalding, 'Everything is possible to him, who dares.' Those sentiments resonate with our brand's new vision."
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