SBD/February 18, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Rawlings Targets Nike, Under Armour With New Line Of High-End Apparel

New merchandise follows Rawlings' launch of high-end clothing for baseball market
Rawlings is "launching a portfolio of high-end shirts, shorts and leggings that currently is missing from the venerable sports equipment company's clothing lineup," according to Lisa Brown of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. With the new clothing, Rawlings will "compete with Nike and Under Armour in the lucrative market of high-end performance apparel." Rawlings already offered "some 'base layer' apparel -- clothing worn against the skin, such as T-shirts -- but the company realized it was missing an opportunity in clothing designed to enhance performance, with features such as mesh material on shirts' sides for breathability." Brown notes the "aggressive move highlights the priority that Rawlings' owner, New York-based Jarden Corp., has put on developing new products and leveraging the Rawlings brand in new markets." The company would not disclose its spend "on the new apparel launch, only saying it's investing heavily in new point-of-sale displays at retailers, and in-store and online sweepstakes to drive customer traffic." Jarden Team Sports Senior Dir of Apparel Matt Bensing: "This is the first time we have invested this amount of money in a new market for Rawlings apparel." Since acquiring Rawlings in '07, Jarden has "beefed up the subsidiary's new product launches, including a new Rawlings S100 batting helmet in 2009." The brand last month "launched new high-end clothing aimed for the baseball market," and Rawlings indicated that "initial sales have been strong" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 2/18).
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