SBD/May 15, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Li-Ning Looks For More U.S. Market Share With Red Bull Hoops Tourney Sponsorship

Chinese sportswear brand Li-Ning announced that it will serve as the official merchandise supplier for the Red Bull King of the Rock basketball championship in S.F. The company will provide the official game jerseys for all U.S. qualifying events as well as specially designed head-to-toe gear for the final competitors on Alcatraz Island. The company will also design and sell exclusive branded Red Bull King of the Rock merchandise at select qualifier events in the U.S. and online starting this month (Li-Ning). BRAND CHANNEL’s Abe Sauer noted Li-Ning is co-sponsoring the event, giving the company “an opportunity to regroup and take another shot at a US market in which the brand has met a little success and a lot of setbacks.” The brand’s new U.S. strategy is “using a unique method to get its foothold, selling purely online in the U.S. while maintaining no retail locations -- in contrast to China, where it operates more than 8,000 stores.” Li-Ning U.S. VP/Marketing, Sales & Merchandise Craig Heisner said the biggest challenge for Li-Ning in the U.S. market is "establishing momentum through trial with relevant products that address the needs of a performance-based consumer." Sauer noted in addition to “wooing American sneaker-heads and hoops fans, Li-Ning is already looking beyond the NBA and King of the Rock to the summer Olympic games in London,” where the brand “claims an impressive stable of global talent.” However, Li-Ning’s lone U.S. Olympian is triple jumper Christian Taylor (BRANDCHANNEL.com, 5/14).
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