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Wilson Sporting Goods Company
Private (subsidiary of Amer Sports)
Industry Sports equipment
Founded 1913
Founder Thomas E. Wilson
Headquarters Chicago, United States
Key people
WILSON
Products Footwear,
Sportswear,
Accessories
$600 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 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 A2000, A2K, and A3000.

Club teams[edit]

Players[9][edit]

Basketball[edit]

Club teams[edit]

NBA Players[edit]

Colleges[edit]

Football-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 Open and USPGA champion Pádraig Harrington.

Tennis[edit]

Male Players[edit]

Female Players[edit]

Former players[edit]

The original kevlar Pro Staff model (Sampras' racquet) was heavy (more than 350g strung) and small-headed (85 sq. in.); Roger Federer also used the same racquet 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 racquet (85 sq. in. with slightly rounded frame edges) but with different paint work. In late 2009, Wilson unveiled their latest line of racquets, 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 racquets that perform differently from the mass-produced versions.

Aside from tennis racquets, the Wilson sporting goods company also makes tennis shoes, balls, strings, clothes, and racquet bags.[11]

Squash[edit]

Active Players[edit]

Former Players[edit]

Volleyball[edit]

Associations[edit]

  • United States AVP - Official ball

In popular culture[edit]

A Wilson volleyball "co-starred" alongside Tom Hanks in the film Cast Away, and Tom's character named the ball "Wilson" in the film. After the success of the film, Wilson Sporting Goods actually created and marketed volleyballs with Wilson's "face" printed on it. Though no longer available as regular store merchandise, the balls have remained listed on the Wilson Sporting Goods website.

Hanks' character's loss of the famed volleyball is lampooned in a scene in the film Behind Enemy Lines when the steam-catapult aboard an aircraft carrier launches a Wilson football off the flight deck prompting Owen Wilson's character to cry "Wilson!"

The cartoon "Dennis the Menace" has a moment whereby a character cries "Wilson!"

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Other


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilson_Sporting_Goods — Please support Wikipedia.
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Wilson Sports Videos - Wilson Sporting Goods.

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Jane Helser recently retired after working for nearly 50 years at the Wilson Sporting Goods factory, the source of the N.F.L.'s handmade footballs. Produced by: ...

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12100 videos foundNext > 

1042 news items

 
PR Newswire (press release)
Wed, 26 Aug 2015 02:56:15 -0700

CHICAGO, Aug. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Wilson Sporting Goods Co., announced today the launch of three new high performance, next generation tennis products designed for today's modern game. The new products include the Pro Staff 97S, which was ...
 
Law360 (subscription)
Fri, 07 Aug 2015 17:49:27 -0700

Law360, New York (August 7, 2015, 8:39 PM ET) -- The week in intellectual property complaints saw Key & Associates client Wilson Sporting Goods Co. blitzing a rival equipment manufacturer for infringing a patent for manufacturing footballs and White ...
 
Broadway World
Wed, 26 Aug 2015 03:41:06 -0700

CHICAGO, Aug. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ Wilson Sporting Goods Co., announced today the launch of three new high performance, next generation tennis products designed for today's modern game.The new products include the Pro Staff 97S, which was ...

WHIO

WHIO
Wed, 02 Sep 2015 15:30:00 -0700

The information gathered on game balls are to be recorded in a certain way and submitted to the League office by noon on the day after the game. Wilson Sporting Goods is charged with certifying all the gauges prior to each measuring session. There are ...
 
http://www.the419.com/ (press release)
Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:39:57 -0700

Still shot from the preseason hype video for Wilson Sporting Goods featuring the Lima Senior Spartans. staff reports news@the419.com. LIMA – The Lima Senior High School Spartan football program is featured in a preseason hype video for Wilson Sporting ...
 
Lima Ohio
Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:48:45 -0700

The Lima Senior High School Spartan football program is featured in a preseason hype video for Wilson Sporting Goods that will be shown at high school football stadiums and social media outlets around the country. A camera crew from Chicago spent ...

NPR

NPR
Mon, 23 Mar 2015 12:57:55 -0700

Update at 7:21 p.m. ET. Jobs to be lost in deal: Baseball's most iconic bat has a new owner. Monday, Hillerich & Bradsby Co., which owns Louisville Slugger, announced the brand would be acquired by Wilson Sporting Goods Co. for $70 million in cash.

Louisville Business First

Louisville Business First
Wed, 22 Apr 2015 09:51:42 -0700

"The addition of Louisville Slugger to our growing baseball and softball business allows us to strengthen our current offerings and play a central role in the wood bat business," Mike Dowse, president of Wilson Sporting Goods, said in the release. "We ...
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