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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.[5] Wilson is Horween Leather Company's largest customer, using the company's leather in manufacturing footballs and basketballs.[6]

After the war it 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!"

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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976 news items

 
AdAge.com
Mon, 03 Aug 2015 04:03:45 -0700

One of the ways it's doing that is creating customization platforms for brands including Wilson Sporting Goods, Sur La Table and Leatherman Tool Group. "It's not as sterile of an environment, and customization is very intimate to the brand -- and we're ...

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.

NECN

NECN
Fri, 31 Jul 2015 14:45:00 -0700

Official game balls for NFL football's Super Bowl XLIX sit in a bin before being laced and inflated at the Wilson Sporting Goods Co. in Ada, Ohio, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. Updated at 5:58 PM EDT on Friday, Jul 31, 2015. A series of emails between ...

Louisville Business First

Louisville Business First
Wed, 22 Apr 2015 09:41:15 -0700

Wilson Sporting Goods Co., a division of Finnish company Amer Sports Corp., has completed the acquisition of the iconic baseball accessories brand from Louisville-based Hillerich & Bradsby Co., which has been the sole owner of the brand. Chicago-based ...

WRTV Indianapolis

WRTV Indianapolis
Fri, 03 Apr 2015 19:31:45 -0700

INDIANAPOLIS -- Wilson Sporting Goods plays a prominent role in the Final Four -- they make the basketballs that will be played in the big games. RTV6 Sports Director Dave Furst had a chance to learn more at Fan Fest. Get the details in the video ...

FIBA

PR Newswire (press release)
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 06:35:48 -0700

MIES, Switzerland, June 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Wilson Sporting Goods Co., and FIBA, the International Basketball Federation, announced today they have entered into a four-year agreement for FIBA 3x3. As part of the agreement Wilson will provide the ...

Investorplace.com

Investorplace.com
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 11:22:30 -0700

Wilson Sporting Goods paid Hillerich & Bradsby $70 million for the Louisville Slugger brand. John A. Hillerich, CEO of Hillerich & Bradsby, said that the brand was sold partially due to lawsuits concerning injuries from metal bats, reports ESPN.

The Courier-Journal

The Courier-Journal
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 13:39:07 -0700

Hillerich & Bradsby Co. has appointed Kyle J. Beaird as its new chief operating officer and chief financial officer, and Tanee Brewer as the company's new treasurer. Beaird is a graduate of Iowa State University and the University of Pennsylvania's ...
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