As companies look to court more Gen Z customers and pursue a direct-to-consumer strategy, many are also opening up retail stores to fully bring their brand experience to life. For example, Amazon plans to open a clothing store calledAmazon Style in Glendale, California this year. And Glossier bet big on experiential retail adding two physical stores in 2021. Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods Co., is no exception. Just a few months after the company revealed plans for a DTC approach, it has already opened up two retail stores, with more on the way.
As the world’s leading manufacturer of high-performance sports equipment, apparel, footwear, and accessories, Wilson brings more than a century of innovation, history and heritage to sports. Of all the company’s products, it was the sale of golf equipment that first catapulted Wilson Sporting Goods into a place of prominence within the sports industry. Today the company has lines of equipment and apparel, and is extended into verticals from racquet sports to football, basketball, volleyball, soccer, and beyond.
When we think about retail for sports – and more specifically basketball – stores such as Nike and Dicks’ Sporting Goods spring to mind. As just one example of a modern experience, Nike Soho —a five-story, multi-sport, 55,000-square-foot retail space in New York City, has made its mark as a place to both play and purchase.
The Nike store was designed to provide a seamless personalized experience, using tons of digital technology to bring it to life. To that end, it features a basketball half-court, a soccer trial area with synthetic turf, a treadmill in front of a jumbotron that simulates outdoor runs, a customization shoe bar where shoppers can fully personalize a pair of Nike Air Force 1s, touchscreens throughout, and an easy Nike app checkout.
Furthermore, the in-store tech is designed for customers to be able to see and learn from their sporting performances. For example, around the basketball court, cameras are set up to record the action from multiple angles, and the hoop is equipped with Kinect sensors that capture body movements and display them on the massive screen in front of players.With Nike’s unique model having set the standard, Wilson is following in big footsteps.
So today, we explore the unique ways Wilson has customized their physical locations, incorporating their heritage, as they look to reimagine the future and make their mark on the wearable goods category. Have they created a new hoopers’ paradise? First, we’ll take a quick walk down memory lane with some Wilson Sporting Goods history to set the stage.
Wilson Sporting Goods history
Wilson Sporting Goods started in 1913 as the Ashland Manufacturing Company, with the unsexy – but resourceful – goal of using the byproducts of a nearby meat-packing firm.By the following year, the company was producing tennis racket strings and violin strings, and had even expanded into baseball shoes and tennis racquets. A year later, Thomas E.Wilson was appointed as president and pivoted the company’s focus entirely to manufacturing sporting equipment.
The company quickly got into baseball and football, acquiring Chicago Sporting Goods Company, a manufacturer of baseball uniforms, and hiring Arch Turner, a leather craftsmen who’s innovative designs for the football went on to have a huge influence on the development of the game.
In 1922, Wilson established its first advisory staff of athletes – a method the company still employs today. The famous golfer Gene Sarazen was its first member. Though the football coach of Notre Dame, Knute Rockne, proved to be the most influential, helping to develop a new double-lined leather football, and the first football that was valve inflated, fueling the modern passing game in college football.
The company next turned its attention to golf, and remarkably prospered even through the worst years of the Great Depression. In 1932, Wilson developed the R-90, a sand wedge golf club inspired by Gene Sarazen’s victory in the 1932 British Open, selling over 50,000 that year alone. In 1937, Wilson brought on Sam Sneed as a member of the advisory committee, and later achieved a major innovation for bonding wood in golf clubs for superior performance.
Domination in tennis was up next. And in the 1930s, Jack Kramer joined the company’s advisory board, collaborating with Wilson to design new tennis equipment.More than 10 million autographed Jack Kramer tennis racquets went on to be sold. And Wilson’s rise continued from there.
Decades later, during the 1970s, the company made its first worldwide impact after being chosen as the official basketball of the National Basketball Association; the official football of the National Football League; providing almost all of the uniforms for teams in Major League Baseball; and outfitting the United States Summer Olympic team with all of its official uniforms and clothing.In terms of their impact in the basketball category, Michael Jordan, continued to promote his own line of Wilson signature basketballs, selling over one million annually for nearly 14 consecutive years.
But after being acquired by PepsiCo and then by WSGC Holdings, Inc, in the late 1990s, the company had some rocky years. Since then, it has been mounting a decade long turnaround push, reinvesting in heavily research and development. Today, Wilson is best known by modern consumers for its tennis, volleyball, and golf products. With that in mind, let’s explore how they’ve reimagined their new retail environments.
Wilson Sporting Goods opens flagship store in New York City
Recently Wilson Sporting Goods opened its first flagship store inNew York City, located in the heart of SoHo (sound familiar?). The grand opening celebration featured local NYC athletes and advisors such as pro basketball trainerChris Brickley, WNBA guard Betnijah Laney, NFL quarterbackMike White, MLB infielderAndrew Velazquez,and musicianKelley James.
The 6,400 square foot retail space reimagines the traditional sports store offering tons of sports products acrossWilson’sportfolio, and provides opportunities for play as well. One of the most unique features is the Thomas E. Wilson Park. Named afterWilson’sfounder, the unique indoor atrium space features a graffiti mural by local NYC artist,Greg Lamarche, and can be transformed to provide a way for customers to hit tennis balls, demo clubs, play catch, shoot hoops, and test out any product the store has to offer (such as women’s basketballs).
“We are excited to introduce our premium brand direct retail model providing an immersiveWilsonexperience through innovative products, constant inspiration to play, and sport-specific staff expertise,” saidGordon Devin, President of Wilson Sportswear. “New Yorkis a priority market forWilsonas we continue to expand our retail footprint globally.”
The flagship location offers a curated assortment of equipment across a variety of sport categories including the official basketballs of the NBA and WNBA. It also presents Wilson’sathletic-lifestyle sportswear collection, available for both men and women. And provides in-store personalization services such as a full-time racket stringing maestro, leather ball customization.
Now that it’s open, you can stop by the Wilson NYC Flagship located at 594 Broadway anytime from 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Monday through Saturday,and11 a.m.–6 p.m. on Sunday.To catch upcoming events and product drops, check out Wilson on social.
The news of the NYC flagship comes on the heels of another Wilson store – the first of its kind – opening last year in July.
Wilson Sporting Goods opens first retail store in Chicago
Wilsonbrought its first brick-and-mortar store – a stunning 2,247 square-foot space – to its hometown ofChicagointhe summer of 2021, merging its history and its future seamlessly. Located at 932 N. Rush Street in Chicago’s glitzy Gold Coast neighborhood, the Wilson store is predominantly a way to showcase the company’s recently released sportswear line (May 2021) – a lifestyle-slash-activewear collection.
“Following the launch of our Wilson Sportswear line earlier this summer, it was important that we introduce physical retail locations so that our athletes can experience and interact with our sports equipment and apparel in person,” said Gordon Devin, President of Wilson Sportswear. “Our first-ever retail location centers around Wilson’s heritage, serving as a physical ‘love letter’ to our city.”
Wilson’s history in Chicago is featured throughout the interior decor of the Wilson Heritage Store, giving it a museum-like quality. For example, fitting rooms are papered in catalog images and retro ad campaigns, and leather ottomans bear the sameW’s that adorn the brand’s classic footballs.
The Chicago store opened with limited-edition products, such as aChicago-inspired colorway of the Wilson A2000 baseball glove. And additional exclusives are set to drop seasonally – aligning with key sports moments. For the opening celebration, Wilson brought in many of the athletes and influencers who helped develop the line as part of the advisory board, including former tennis pro Wkwesi Williams, reports The Manual – a consistent ingredient to their retail formula thus far.
Wilson Sporting Goods’ NYC Pop-Up Museum & Store opens
Prior to its NYC flagship, the brand also opened up an NYC pop-up store inAugust 2021 – basically serving as a test lab for its later retail footprints. The Grand Opening was attended by legendary tennis star Billie Jean King, and other notable members of the NYC tennis community. And the museum’s first exhibit, “LOVE ALL: A Wilson Tennis Experience” landed during the lead-uptothe 2021 US Open.
The six-week pop-up experience paid homage to Wilson’s long-standing history in the sport of tennis. Fans were able to learn more at the History & Culture Wall, play in the Official Ball Room, check out game-changing technology in the Gallery, connect with fellow athletes in the Skybox, design and create their own racket in the Customization Experience, and shop Wilson’s latest tennis equipment and all-new sportswear in the store, reports RaquetMag.
“We created this experience as an opportunity, specifically around the time of the US Open, to share how tennis is breaking down [its exclusionary] stereotypes, how we are participating in that — whether it be through the story of the first interracial tennis match to Billie Jean’s personal endeavors. When you think about tennis, it was the first sport that had equal pay between males and females,” Wilson sportswear president Gordon Devin told FN.
The pop-up also offered the chance to shop Wilson Sportswear,including its latesttennis-inspired apparel collectionfor men and women. And highlighted Wilson’s collaboration with Kith, which included the Kith xWilson Pro Staff97 tennis racket.
Visitors were also treated to interactive elements, includinga “racket maestro” offering racket customization and stringing, apparel personalization,and an Instagram-worthy tennis ball room that featured an immersiveart installation.
The future of Wilson’s retail experiences
With the learnings from its first few retail locations secured, Wilsonwill continue its direct-to-consumer expansion opening stores inLos Angeles, Beijing, and Shanghai in the coming year.
“When it comes to footwear and soft goods in general, we are tiny in comparison to the major players and it is our major focus moving forward,” said Gordon Devin. “That is the transformation that you will see Wilson taking. You will see us go from the brand that everybody uses, to the brand that you wear as well.”
But will Wilson be the brand that everybody loves? “The pandemic has changed the mandate for retail, and it’s not as simple as creating ‘Instagramable’ spaces — it’s about building experiences that make people feel things, foster community and connection, and that live in harmony with the digital world,” said Kristy Maynes, Glossier’s SVP of retail. In that light, outdoor spaces and integrated community building components could be the keys to the successful retail locations of the future. Wilson now has the opportunity to build on its new retail presence for lasting impact.
As a Wilson partner, QBC will earn a little money back to fund our site if you make a purchase from this article. You can explore Starting Lineup, their new sportswear line here.
Up next, learn more about the art of three-pointer basketball in the WNBA.
U.S. The Wilson Sporting Goods Company is an American sports equipment manufacturer based in Chicago, Illinois. The company has been a subsidiary of Finnish multinational company Amer Sports since 1989, and is now under the Chinese Anta Sports since 2019.What company owns Wilson basketballs? ›
Wilson has been a subsidiary of Amer Sports since 1989. In 2019, former Lululemon founder Chip Wilson purchased 20% of Amer Sports, which also owns Arc'teryx, Salomon, Atomic Ski, Peak Performance.Who is the largest sporting goods retailer? ›
|4||Dick's Sporting Goods||USA|
Wilson Sporting Goods is a subsidiary of Amer Sports Corporation, a leading manufacturer of high-performance sports equipment, apparel and accessories. Amer Sports is a subsidiary of the Chinese-owned Anta Sports.Is Wilson Made in USA? ›
From leather to laces, Wilson's football is 100 percent made in America. Located 70 miles from Toledo, Ohio, in Ada, the factory was opened in the 1930s, by the Ohio-Kentucky Manufacturing Company. The firm produced footballs, baseball gloves and boxing gloves.Does Wilson sponsor NBA? ›
“I think that they saw what we were doing as a company and what our vision for growing this sport is globally.” As part of the deal, Wilson also supplies the basketball for the NBA's G League and WNBA. Wilson has been the manufacturer of the NCAA tournament basketballs since 2002.Why did Spalding change to Wilson? ›
Wilson was the official maker of the NBA basketball for the first 37 years of the league before Spalding took over for the next 37. As Spalding failed to renew their contract, Wilson takes over ball-making duties once again.Why did NBA stop using Spalding? ›
But Spalding's sponsorship contract with the NBA expires after this 2020-21 season, and they were unable to agree on terms for a new deal. Spalding will continue to produce the official NBA backboards and rims, plus a full line of other basketballs, including the TF-1000 and my personal outdoor favorite, the Neverflat.Why is NBA switching to Wilson? ›
The NBA's contract with Spalding expired and the National Basketball Association decided to switch to new balls. Starting in 2021, all NBA games will be played with Wilson balls.Who is the #1 retailer in the US? ›
Reliance Retail continues to be the undisputed leader in organised retailing in the country, with scale that is more than 6 times the next competitor.Who is the number 1 retailer in the world? ›
@SAMUELBEGG RE-SIGNED AS GLOBAL AMBASSADOR FOR 2020!How much is Wilson company worth? ›
Kennedy-Wilson Holdings net worth as of November 23, 2022 is $2.31B.Who is the biggest manufacturer of sports goods in China? ›
- Nike China. Nike China. ...
- Anta Sports. Anta Sports China. ...
- Adidas China. Adidas China. ...
- Li-Ning. Li-Ning China. ...
- Xtep. Xtep China.
Wilson is one of the most popular brands for tennis racquets and other tennis gear in the world. They make some of the best tennis racquets for tennis players of every skill level. Roger Federer and Serena Williams use Wilson racquets, but they also have great racquets for juniors or beginners.Who makes balls for NFL? ›
Each “The Duke” NFL football is hand-produced in Wilson's Ada, OH factory. From the cutting and stamping to sewing and lacing, each “The Duke” football is the combined effort of nearly two-dozen expert craftspeople. Each football starts with four panels of genuine cowhide leather, tanned in nearby Chicago.Where are Wilson balls made? ›
More than 700,000 footballs a year have been handmade in Ada, Ohio, by Wilson's talented craftsmen and women since 1955.How much does Wilson pay the NBA? ›
|2019/20||Brooklyn Nets||$2,564,753 ($2,966,954*)|
|2018/19||Los Angeles Clippers||$12,800,562 ($15,052,035*)|
|2017/18||Denver Nuggets||$12,016,854 ($14,536,245*)|
|2016/17||Denver Nuggets||$11,233,146 ($13,810,191*)|
AB InBev, Pepsi, Socios, State Farm, Toyota and Verizon are the most active brands sponsoring the NBA and its teams. Each brand currently holds more than 20 sponsorship deals.
Best Overall: Spalding NeverFlat Elite Indoor-Outdoor Basketball. We chose this basketball as our top choice because it's a durable and versatile ball that can go from blacktop games to indoor courts.Is Spalding no longer NBA ball? ›
Wilson, who manufactured the basketballs for the league from 1946 until 1983, replaced Spalding as the official supplier for the NBA at the start of the 2021-22 campaign.Why did Spalding cut his tongue? ›
After Myrtle (Frances Conroy) enchanted Spalding's tongue so that he could never tell a lie, he knew that he would likely betray Fiona (Jessica Lange). In an uncharacteristic moment of extreme loyalty, Spalding cut out his own tongue. His last words to her were, “I have always loved you.”Does Spalding still exist? ›
Spalding is an American sports equipment manufacturing company founded by Albert Spalding in Chicago, in 1876, although is now headquartered in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Spalding currently focuses on basketball, mainly producing balls but also commercializing hoops, rims, nets and ball pump needles.Are NBA centers obsolete? ›
The center position has gone the way of the Walkman, compact discs and VCR. They are no longer relevant in the modern world of basketball. Teams have traded in the dominant post presence for a player who can be effective in the paint as well as the perimeter. Running a play for a big man is a thing of past.What brand ball does NBA use? ›
The new game ball will be manufactured by Chicago-based company Wilson, starting with the 2021-22 season, the league announced. Spalding made the NBA's basketballs for over 30 years.Is Wilson a good brand basketball? ›
If you are looking for a great quality basketball, Wilson makes some of the best. Wilson has been making sporting equipment for over a century so you can count on having a great experience with a Wilson basketball. Wilson basketballs have also been the official basketball of the NCAA since 2002.Who is bigger Walmart or Amazon 2022? ›
1. Walmart. Walmart once again leads the pack, claiming a 12.67% retail share of the market, equating to $572 billion in sales.Is Walmart losing to Amazon? ›
“As the growth of online retailers has been accelerated by the pandemic, Amazon will continue to grow the fastest among the top 10, with an 11.7% CAGR between 2021-2026,” the Ascential report said, noting that Amazon is expected to add $294 billion in sales in the five-year priod ending in 2026, overtaking Walmart as ...Who are the big 4 retailers? ›
For years the 'big four' supermarkets has remained unchanged. Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons have all held on to their places in the list of the UK's biggest grocers.
#2 Amazon. The number two retailer in the world — for now — Amazon increased its market share to 9.7%, representing $386 billion in sales.Who has the highest market share in retail? ›
|1||Amazon 1AMZN||$93.41 0.76%|
|2||Walmart 2WMT||$153.07 0.43%|
|3||Home Depot 3HD||$326.38 1.51%|
|4||Costco 4COST||$533.66 0.16%|
Walmart in its latest quarter reported revenue of $152.86 billion, up 8.4% year-over-year (YOY), compared to Amazon's 7% increase to $121.2 billion.Which Walmart makes the most money? ›
In fact, the Doral Walmart has the highest sales of any store in the entire country.What is the most popular store on earth? ›
Keeping within these guidelines, Walmart continues to be the world's largest retailer, both domestically and internationally, with a significant commitment to a new online marketplace and fulfillment model.Who bought Wilson sports? ›
|Formerly||Ashland Manufacturing Company (1913–31)|
|Fate||Acquired by Ling-Temco-Vought in 1967, then other owners|
|Headquarters||Chicago, Illinois , U.S.|
|Products||Balls, rackets, shuttlecock,uniforms, apparel|
Wilson has been a subsidiary of Amer Sports since 1989. In 2019, former Lululemon founder Chip Wilson purchased 20% of Amer Sports, which also owns Arc'teryx, Salomon, Atomic Ski, Peak Performance.Is Wilson owned by anta? ›
After completing the acquisition of Amer Sports, the company expanded in branding and owns more than 25 sporting apparel and equipment brands, including Arc'teryx, Salomon, and Wilson.Do any PGA players use Wilson? ›
Which Tour Players Are Using Wilson Equipment? Currently there are 3 PGA Tour players among the top players in the world playing Wilson clubs or other Wilson equipment. This list includes players like Gary Woodland, Brendan Steele, and Kevin Streelman.
Wilson is known for making sports equipment for American football, badminton, baseball, basketball, fast pitch softball, golf, racquetball, soccer, squash and volleyball. However, the company has long been recognized as the leader in tennis racquets and balls.What is the most popular sports brand in China? ›
Breakdown of the sportswear market in China in 2021, by brand.
The city of Sialkot has been a centre of excellence for the production of sports goods for more than 100 years. The first record of manufacturing of sports goods in Sialkot can be traced back to 1883 with the products such as cricket bats, hockey sticks, polo sticks etc.Which companies are owned by Nike? ›
In addition to the Nike and Jordan brands, our wholly-owned subsidiaries include Cole Haan (luxury shoes, handbags, accessories and coats); Converse (athletic and lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories); Hurley (action sports and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories); Nike Golf, and Umbro (a leading ...What company Nike owns? ›
Nike markets its products under its own brand, as well as Nike Golf, Nike Pro, Nike+, Air Jordan, Nike Blazers, Air Force 1, Nike Dunk, Air Max, Foamposite, Nike Skateboarding, Nike CR7, and subsidiaries including Jordan Brand and Converse.Does Nike Own Jordan's? ›
Air Jordan is an American brand of basketball shoes produced by American corporation Nike. The first Air Jordan shoe was produced for Hall of Fame former basketball player Michael Jordan during his time with the Chicago Bulls in late 1984 and released to the public on April 1, 1985.Who owns Nike now? ›
By that time Bowerman had a reduced role in the company and a reduced ownership interest. Today, 97.5% of Nike "A" stock, which is not available to the public, is owned by Knight and his son Travis. Public shares of the company's "B" stock can be purchased by individuals or institutional investment companies.Who is Nike's main competitor? ›
Adidas. With annual revenue of $22.12 billion, Adidas is the biggest competitor of Nike. The brand actively serves across 55 countries via more than 2500 stores worldwide. Founded in 1924 by Adolf Dassler and Rudolf Dassler, the brand is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and the second-largest globally.Who is Nike's largest shareholder? ›
|The Vanguard Group, Inc.||8.21%||103,447,352|
|BlackRock Fund Advisors||4.78%||60,164,456|
|SSgA Funds Management, Inc.||4.39%||55,245,370|
|Wellington Management Co. LLP||2.64%||33,272,380|
Nike. In Greek mythology, Nike is the Winged Goddess of Victory. The logo is derived from goddess' wing,'swoosh', which symbolises the sound of speed, movement, power and motivation.
It was founded in 1964 as Blue Ribbon Sports by Bill Bowerman, a track-and-field coach at the University of Oregon, and his former student Phil Knight. They opened their first retail outlet in 1966 and launched the Nike brand shoe in 1972. The company was renamed Nike, Inc., in 1978 and went public two years later.Is Gatorade owned by Nike? ›
Gatorade is an American brand of sports-themed beverage and food products, built around its signature line of sports drinks. Gatorade is currently manufactured by PepsiCo and is distributed in over 80 countries. The beverage was first developed in 1965 by a team of researchers led by Dr. Robert Cade.Who bought the Nike logo? ›
This symbol, one that helped take the company from a side-hustle to a multi-billion dollar sports brand, was purchased from a graphic design student for a mere $35. Carolyn Davidson was first approached by Nike co-founder Phil Knight in the late 1960s.How much Nike pay Michael Jordan? ›
Enter Jordan Brand
Nike pays him $410,000 per day and he earns a staggering $150 million based on his 2021 earnings according to Forbes. Michael Jordan makes 5% out of every single Jordan Brand item sold. Nike generates a total of $15 million in Jordan Brand sales every single day.
The "Jumpman" logo is owned by Nike to promote the Air Jordan brand of basketball sneakers and other sportswear. It is the silhouette of former Chicago Bulls NBA player and current Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan.Did Nike buy Converse? ›
Converse (/ˈkɒnvərs/) is an American brand of lifestyle wear that markets, distributes, and licenses sneakers, skating shoes, lifestyle brand footwear, apparel, and accessories. Founded in 1908, it has been a subsidiary of Nike, Inc. since 2003.Does Michael Jordan still get paid from Nike? ›
Accross some four decades, Jordan has earned $1.7 billion (pre-tax) off the court from brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Wheaties, Chevrolet to name a few. At present Jordan still maintains official ties with Nike, Hanes, Gatorade, and Upper Deck.Is Phil Knight a billionaire? ›
|Knight in 2010|
|Born||Philip Hampson Knight February 24, 1938 Portland, Oregon, U.S.|
|Alma mater||University of Oregon Stanford University|
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) – Nike founder Phil Knight donated $1 million to the Republican nominee for Oregon Governor Christine Drazan on Thursday.