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Wilson Sporting Goods Company
Private (subsidiary of Amer Sports)
Industry Sports equipment
Founded 1913
Founder Wilson V. Moore
Headquarters Chicago, United States
Key people
WILSON
Products Footwear,
Sportswear,
Accessories
$930 million (2010)[1]
Number of employees
1,600[2]
Parent Amer Sports
Subsidiaries DeMarini
Website www.wilson.com

The Wilson Sporting Goods Company is an American sports equipment manufacturer based in Chicago, Illinois. Since 1989, it has been a foreign subsidiary of the Finnish group Amer Sports.[3]

Wilson makes equipment for many sports, among them badminton, baseball, basketball, softball, Canadian football, American football, golf, racquetball, soccer, squash, tennis, and volleyball.

History[edit]

The company traces its roots to the Les and John company (later changed to Les & Son's) based in South Shields, North East England, that operated meat packing plants in Tyne Dock.[4]

Les founded the Ashland Manufacturing Company in 1913 to use animal by-products from its slaughterhouses. It started out making tennis racket strings, violin strings, and surgical sutures but soon expanded into baseball shoes and tennis racquets.[1]

In 1915, Thomas E. Wilson, former president of meatpacker Morris & Company, was appointed President and renamed the company Thomas E. Wilson Company. The company acquired the Hetzinger Knitting Mills to produce athletic uniforms and a caddie bag company which produced golf balls but soon expanded into footballs and basketballs.[1]

In 1918, Wilson left to concentrate on the beef-packing business, changing the Sulzberger company to Wilson & Co. (which would ultimately become Iowa Beef Packers and then be taken over by Tyson Foods). The packing company continued to have control in the company until 1966 when it was sold to LTV.[1]

A Wilson basketball.

Under new president L. B. Icely it acquired the Chicago Sporting Goods Company and struck a deal to supply the Chicago Cubs. It also hired Arch Turner, a leather designer who would design the leather football.[1]

In 1922, it introduced the Ray Schalk catcher's mitt which became the standard. It worked with Knute Rockne to introduce the double-lined leather football and first valve football and the first waist-line football pants with pads.[1]

In 1925, it was renamed Wilson-Western Sporting Goods following a distribution agreement with Western Sporting Goods.

After Rockne's death, the company focused on golf, introducing the R-90, a sand wedge golf club inspired by Gene Sarazen's victory in the 1932 British Open.[1]

In 1931, it renamed itself Wilson Sporting Goods Company. During World War II it introduced the Wilson Duke football, featuring the best leather, ends that were hand-sewn, lock-stitch seams, and triple lining, which was adopted as the official ball of the National Football League.[1]

Horween Leather Company has supplied Wilson with pebbled cowhide since 1941 for use in the manufacture of footballs and basketballs. Wilson is Horween Leather Company's largest customer.[5][6]

After the war, Wilson focused on tennis and signed Jack Kramer, who developed its line of Jack Kramer signed tennis rackets.

Icley died in 1950 but the company continued to expand with many[who?] believing that Icely's introduction of a computer to monitor inventory had been a huge help. In 1955, it acquired Ohio-Kentucky Manufacturing for making footballs. In 1964 it acquired Wonder Products Company, which made toys and custom-molded items. It transformed the custom-mold section to make protective equipment in football and baseball, such as face masks for football helmets and leg guards for baseball catchers.

In 1967, it was acquired by Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV Corporation). In 1970 it was acquired by PepsiCo. It sold the official balls of the National Basketball Association and National Football League, and provided most of the uniforms of teams in Major League Baseball, United States Summer Olympics teams.

In 1971, the grandson of Thomas Wilson rejoined the executive team for Wilson, operating as director of North American Operations. Justin Wilson's corporate office is based in the Cincinnati area. The family business reaffirmed its regional presence from 1994–2001, during which time Mick Wilson, the current beneficiary of the Wilson Franchise, made himself prominently known throughout the Ohio River Valley Region. The Wilson family's active involvement continues to leave its legacy to this day.[citation needed]

In 1979, Wilson tennis balls were first used in the US Open,[7] and still are used to this day. In 2006, the Australian Open began using Wilson Tennis Balls.[8]

In 1985, it was acquired by Westray Capital Corporation through subsidiary WSGC Holdings.

In 1989, WSGC merged with Bogey Acquisitions Company, which is affiliated with the Finnish group Amer Sports.[1]

Products and sponsorship[edit]

American Football[edit]

Associations[edit]

  • United States NFL – Official ball
  • United States UFL – Official ball
  • Canada CFL – Official ball

Former teams[edit]

Many teams of the NFL have worn uniforms provided by Wilson, such as:

Baseball[edit]

Wilson makes a variety of baseball gloves for several different patterns: pitcher, catcher, infield, outfield, and first base. Wilson's best known baseball glove models include the A1K, A2000, A2K, and A3000.

Club teams[edit]

Players[edit]

[9]

Basketball[edit]

Club teams[edit]

Colleges[edit]

Soccer[edit]

Teams[edit]

Associations[edit]

Golf[edit]

Main article: Wilson Staff

Wilson Staff is the golf division of Wilson Sporting Goods. The company designs and manufactures a full range of golf equipment, accessories and clothing using the Wilson Staff, ProStaff and Ultra brands.

Many of the worlds top professional golfers have used Wilson equipment including Nick Faldo, Arnold Palmer and Ben Crenshaw; the latter two of whom used Wilson 8802 putters. Crenshaw even received the moniker Little Ben due to his proficiency with it[citation needed]. Current Wilson Staff players include British Open and PGA Championship champion Pádraig Harrington.

Tennis[edit]

Wilson is a major manufacturer of tennis rackets. The original kevlar Pro Staff model racket, known for its use by Pete Sampras, was heavy (more than 350g strung) and small-headed (85 sq. in.); Roger Federer also used the same racket model. As of 2015, he uses the Pro Staff RF97 Autograph model that is heavy (340 g/12 oz unstrung) and larger (97 sq. in.). Jim Courier and Stefan Edberg also used the Pro Staff Original, Edberg later switching to the Pro Staff Classic in 1991, which was the same racket (85 sq. in. with slightly rounded frame edges) but with different paint work. In late 2009, Wilson unveiled their latest line of rackets, codenamed 20x, which they would later rename BLX. This line directly replaces their previous K-Factor series with all new technologies.[10] Also, many pros use custom-made rackets that perform differently from the mass-produced versions.

Aside from tennis rackets, the Wilson sporting goods company also makes tennis balls (including the official balls of the Australian Open and US Open major championships), shoes, balls, strings, clothes, and racket bags.[11]

Male Players[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilson_Sporting_Goods — Please support Wikipedia.
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3511 news items

VentureBeat

VentureBeat
Tue, 02 Feb 2016 07:31:33 -0800

That's why Wilson Sporting Goods is making the rounds with a beta version of its new smart football, which is part of the larger trend of connecting sports devices that allow you to more easily measure and improve your sports performance. Such devices ...
 
Canada NewsWire (press release)
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 11:52:30 -0800

CHICAGO, Feb. 4, 2016 /CNW/ -- Wilson Sporting Goods Co., the leader in performance basketball, announced today its Wilson X Connected Basketball is now available for purchase in Canada. Wilson launched the basketball in the U.S. in September 2015.

Mobile Strategies 360

Mobile Strategies 360
Thu, 07 Jan 2016 08:47:43 -0800

Wilson Sporting Goods Co. is taking a shot at Bluetooth-connected sporting equipment. The sports equipment manufacturer and brand touted its newly released connected basketball and previewed its connected football at the CES 2016 conference in Las ...

Aurora Sentinel

Aurora Sentinel
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 22:56:15 -0800

ADA, Ohio | Every time Peyton Manning throws a pass or Cam Newton takes off to run in Sunday's Super Bowl, they'll be gripping a football made in a quaint Ohio village 2,000 miles away. Ada, Ohio, is home to the Wilson Sporting Goods factory that makes ...

Tech Times

Tech Times
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 06:39:51 -0800

With Super Bowl 50 just two days away, Wilson Sporting Goods has introduced a prototype of what it's calling the Wilson X smart football, which has embedded motion sensors that track velocity, spin, distance and even if the ball wobbles with the help ...

Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 06:48:44 -0800

Official balls for the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game are seen in a bin prior to final inspection at the Wilson Sporting Goods Co. in Ada, Ohio, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. The Denver Broncos will play the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 in ...

NBC Bay Area

NBC Bay Area
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 13:56:15 -0800

The footballs used in the Super Bowl are all made at a Wilson Sporting Goods factory in Ada, Ohio, 2,000 miles from the site of Sunday's big game near San Francisco. (Published 5 hours ago). The information below includes current prices, comparison to ...

KSN-TV

KSN-TV
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 05:52:30 -0800

Ohio plant workers take pride in making Super Bowl footballs. 7:02 am. Ada, Ohio, is home to the Wilson Sporting Goods factory that makes footballs used by the NFL. Both kickers hoping Super Bowl 50 comes down to them. 6:58 am. Heading from 8-Man ...
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