SBD/January 19, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Upstart MMA Apparel Company RYU Readies For Launch Of First Clothing Line Next Month

RYU became official UFC event sponsor and signed Fitch as endorser in past two months
MMA clothing line Respect Your Universe Inc. is “preparing for a mid-February launch of its first line of apparel,” where it will “go head-to-head with some established” MMA brands, according to Allan Brettman of the Portland OREGONIAN. While RYU will see "little to none" of the competition with Nike, adidas and Under Armour, the company “expects to eventually sell its products to other sports, such as football and baseball, as well as reaching a global audience.” A handful of brands owned by the N.Y.-based Authentic Brands Group, “especially Tapout, appear to be leading in mixed martial arts clothing sales, though independent sales data is not readily available.” Based on what appears "on the UFC website, the selection is limited to T-shirts, warm-up pants and hats.” RYU sees “an opening for higher-quality -- and more expensive -- clothing that can be used for mixed martial arts workouts or worn afterward.” Fabrics will be “up to 90 percent organic and/or recycled materials.” The company “tested its China-based supply chain last year by selling T-shirts and hats.” It has since “made inroads into the UFC world, becoming an official UFC event sponsor and signing two fighters as endorsers in the past two months, Jon Fitch and Phil Heath.” The spring line “will include 35 different styles,” with items such as “performance t-shirts, compression top, compression shorts, fight shorts, training tops, pants and shorts, hoodies, track and wind jackets and various headwear items such as beanies and caps.” RYU execs said that “another 100 styles will be offered this fall, including products aimed at women, who make up more of the training market than men.” The company’s “target audience is between 18 and 24 years old” (Portland OREGONIAN, 1/19).
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