Authentic Brands Group Propels Prince Sports

August 16, 2012

NEW YORK — Authentic Brands Group (ABG) has officially acquired the Prince brand name, adding another strong brand to its growing family of properties. Continuing their mission of owning and licensing brands to highly capable operating partners, ABG’s objective is to maintain Prince Sports’ historical reign in the tennis world while expanding into new categories.

At the core of their global strategy are three operating partnerships tasked with managing and expanding the Prince brand. Through its wholly owned affiliate Prince Global Sports, Active Brands Company (ABC) is the exclusive partner for Prince throughout the world with the exception of Asia. ABC is majority owned by Waitt Company, an Omaha based diversified investment company. “We are excited to deepen and expand Prince Sports through delivering quality products, accessories and world-class service,” says Norm Waitt, Chairman of Waitt Company. Prince Global Sports will primarily be managing the Prince, Ektelon, Viking brands and related businesses out of facilities in New Jersey, London, France and Taiwan.

Globeride Inc., an Asia-based company that has been innovating the athletic equipment industry for over 50 years, has been officially named ABG’s partner to operate Prince throughout Japan. “Prince Sports already has a passionate following in Japan and we look forward to enhancing its popularity with the Japanese consumer,” says Masao Sato, Senior Executive Officer of Globeride. Further strengthening Prince’s presence in Asia, Wellpower Sports has partnered with ABG to operate Prince Pacific, which holds the Prince brand in China/Hong Kong, Malaysia, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. “Prince Sports is an amazing addition to the Wellpower family, and we are confident that Prince will continue to resonate as the premiere tennis brand in Asia,” says Kent Hong, CEO of Wellpower.

“Prince has a rich history of providing exceptional products to the performance sports market,” says Jamie Salter, CEO of ABG. “We are committed to this fantastic brand and support our operating partners in continuing the tradition so many have come to expect from Prince.”

Over the past 43 years, Prince has become synonymous with tennis by arming the most gifted players in the world with Prince rackets, shoes, bags and apparel. From the invention of the first automatic tennis ball machine and the first oversized racquet in the 1970s, Prince has continually challenged the status quo, pushing the game forward by equipping athletes at all levels with unique products and support programs designed to take their game to the next level. According to Nick Woodhouse, CMO of ABG, “Prince will continue to reach the globe with cutting edge technology through key partnerships around the world.”

Prince is widely recognized as being the first to market with many of the most relevant technologies of the past 40 years. Through a commitment to research and develop from its facility in Italy, Prince has introduced a number of new products and product enhancements including, oversize technology, long body technology, the first multifilament string, the first “Natural Foot Shape” tennis shoe and EXO3 technology. A key competitive advantage for Prince and the only one of its kind in the tennis space, the facility will continue to operate under ABG’s management. “We are incredibly excited to introduce new patented technology that will revolutionize the tennis industry in 2013,” says Roberto Gazzara, GM of Research and Development. “Our facility is developing equipment that will improve the feel and power for players at all levels.”

This notion of constant innovation will be front and center in Prince’s upcoming #WhosNext campaign, which will launch on Twitter and Facebook during the U.S. Open.

“Tennis is a game played along the tightest of margins and the difference between being ‘in’ or ‘out’ is only a matter of one degree,” says Nick Woodhouse. “Like all of our world-class athletes, we will prepare smarter, train harder and compete tougher on every point – as if it were the last.”