SBD/September 9, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Prince Hoping To Regain Market Share With Overhauled Tennis Racket Collection

Prince’s overhauled collection of racquets is set to launch this October
Tennis brand Prince is "preparing for a test this fall when it launches an overhauled collection of racquets it hopes will volley the brand back into the hearts and hands of the sport's most avid players," according to Ed Beeson of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. Prince CEO Mike Ballardie said that one way the company "aims to do that is by bringing back equipment that brought it glory." The October launch includes "updated versions of the Prince Graphite, which Andre Agassi swung in his prime, and the Precision Response, which Pat Rafter used to win back-to-back U.S. Open tournaments" in the '90s. Prince "foundered as it passed through a series of owners, and competition from rivals Babolat, Wilson and Head ate away at its market share." After filing for bankruptcy in '12, Prince is "leaner now -- down to about 50 workers at its Bordentown headquarters from around 80 at the time of the bankruptcy." Ballardie, who has "been with Prince for about a decade, sees a road to recovery that will take a few years to complete." He said that the company’s goal is to "return its share of the racquet market to the high 20th percentile range by the end of 2015." Ballardie is "hopeful" the company can generate $30M in sales during Q4 by introducing "a new line of gear at a time when most tennis companies hunker down for winter." The company, whose endorsers include David Ferrer and Bob and Mike Bryan, aims to "do this not by chasing big sponsorships or dazzling new technology, but through more fundamental changes, like squeezing more efficiency out of its supply chains and realigning its product offerings" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 9/8).
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