Spalding Sports Worldwide

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Spalding Sports Worldwide

founded: 1876

Contact Information:

headquarters: 425 meadow st. chicopee, ma 01021-0901 phone: (413)536-1200 fax: (413)536-1404 toll free: (800)225-6601 email: [email protected] url:


As the world's oldest sporting goods manufacturer, Spalding's reputation is built upon providing high quality sporting products for a wide range of sports. Spalding Worldwide Sports' mission is to "be the world's leading supplier of authentic sporting goods products, servicing the needs of sports participants of all skill levels." Spalding has more than 60 licenses worldwide and uses licensing as a viable way to expand the product line. These products include such as items as: clothing, skis, bicycles, helmets, baseballs, basketballs, sports ropes, and badminton sets. Spalding provides the official balls for the Amateur Volleyball Association (AVA), the Women's Professional Volleyball Association (WPVA), the California Beach Volleyball Association (CBVA), and the National Coaches Association of America (NCAA).


Total revenue for Evenflo & Spalding Holding Corporation for 1997 was $827.2 million. Of that total, Spalding Sports Worldwide accounted for 64 percent ($530.5 million) and Evenflo accounted for the remaining 36 percent ($296.7 million). For the first quarter of 1998 (ending December 31, 1997), net sales increased 25.4 percent, reaching $157 million; during the same period in 1997, net sales were $125.2 million. Spalding Sports Worldwide's first quarter net sales increased 15.6 percent, reaching $87.4 million, compared to 1997's first quarter net sales of $75.6 million. Spalding's golf equipment sales were up 80 percent ($20.2 million) over 1997's first quarter sales; however, due to lower sales of inflated balls outside the core basketball line, net sales of other sporting goods fell 11.3 percent ($1.6 million). In addition, net sales for Etonic fell 31.7 percent ($4.9 million) in the first quarter of 1998 due to competitive pricing in athletic shoes and traditional spiked golf shoes. Spalding's international net sales declined 9 percent ($1.9 million) in the first quarter of 1998 compared to 1997's first quarter due to lower net sales in Japan, southeast Asia, Australia, and Mexico. However, this was offset by increased net sales in Europe and Canada.


Founded in 1876 by Boston Red Sox pitcher A.G. Spalding as a small sporting goods emporium, the company now known as Spalding Worldwide Sports has grown into an international manufacturer of sporting goods. Spalding's history is filled with a number of firsts: the first major league baseball, the first American-made tennis ball, the first American-made football, the world's first basketball, the first American-made golf club, the first shoe designed for cross country running, the first dimpled golf ball, the first liquid-center golf ball, the first two-piece golf ball, and the first set of matched woods and irons.

The history of Spalding's early innovations and development is intimately linked to founder A.G. Spalding's interest in sports. Spalding began his career as a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox between 1871 and 1875. During this time he developed a baseball for his own use that helped him win 241 of the 301 games that he pitched during his career. When he left the game, the ball stayed behind, and in 1876, A.G. Spalding began manufacturing the official baseballs that are still used by the major leagues. From these beginnings, Spalding began to concentrate its efforts on bringing high-quality sporting goods to men's and women's sports throughout the world.

In 1887 Spalding made the first American football; the following year it manufactured the first American-made tennis balls. Spalding created the world's first basketball in 1891 at the request of the game's inventor, which has since become the official ball of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). (The ball developed by Spalding was even listed as the official ball in the first printed rules of the game.)

Perhaps Spalding's most significant impact on the sporting goods arena was when A.G. Spalding decided to manufacture golf balls and equipment in 1884. Over the years, the research and development areas of Spalding have made the company into the largest manufacturer of golf balls and equipment in the world. Golf dominates the company's product lines, although Spalding is equally powerful in the manufacture of volleyballs, basketballs, footballs, shoes, and other athletic equipment for men and women. Spalding is often the high-water mark against which other companies compare their own success.


Spalding's strategy has been to continue marketing its powerful lines of sporting goods and increase its name recognition by becoming a force on the Internet. The company belongs to the Sporting Goods Manufacturer Association and is a signatory of the ban against using child labor to construct volleyballs. It has enhanced an already strong reputation by becoming a socially conscious and responsible company, dedicated to improving conditions for workers throughout the world.

FAST FACTS: About Spalding Sports Worldwide

Ownership: Spalding Sports Worldwide is a division of Tampa-based Evenflo & Spalding Holdings Corporation, which is a privately held company. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) owns about 90 percent of the company.

Officers: Paul L. Whiting, Chmn. & CEO, 54, salary $450,000; Kevin T. Martin, Pres.; George A. Dickerman, Pres., 58, salary $350,000

Employees: 4,470 (1997)

Principal Subsidiary Companies: Spalding's subsidiaries include: Top-Flite Golf Company, Dudley Softball, and Etonic Shoe.

Chief Competitors: As one of the oldest and most successful manufacturers of full-line sporting goods, Spalding's competitors include: Nike; Rawlings; Reebok; and Wilson.


Spalding sets the standard for sporting goods companies throughout the world. It was the original all-purpose sporting goods manufacturer, and other companies, such as Rawlings and Wilson, have followed and often copied the products that Spalding introduces. This has sometimes led to contentious lawsuits over copyright and patent infringement.


With more than 2,000 branded products, such as Top-Flight golf balls and Spalding basketballs, the company also licensed more than 45 product categories such as basketballs, golf balls, baseballs, volleyballs, tennis rackets, soccer balls, golf clubs, and a complete line of sporting goods and apparel.


Spalding is a signatory to the ban on the use of child labor in the construction of basketballs and volleyballs. The company is environmentally concerned and uses earth-friendly products in its headquarters.

CHRONOLOGY: Key Dates for Spalding Sports Worldwide


A.G. Spalding founds Spalding Worldwide Sports manufacturing baseballs


Spalding makes the first American Football


Creates the first basketball at the request of the game's founder


Creates the first American-made golf balls


Introduces the first shoe made specifically for cross-country running


Develops the first set of matched woods and irons in golf clubs


First to develop golf balls with vulcanized covers and liquid centers


Introduces the ACE handball


Introduces the aluminum golf shaft


Introduces the first colored golf balls


Introduces a new golf club, a wood, with the first modern day metal shaft with graphite insert


Introduces the official basketball for the Women's National Basketball Association


Spalding has 11 offices worldwide, with full-line operations in Australia, Canada, France, Japan, England, Spain, Mexico, Germany, Sweden, and Italy, plus more than 9 distributors worldwide. At the end of the 1990s, Spalding had more than 60 licenses worldwide and used licensing as a way to expand the product line. These products included clothing, skis, bicycles, sports ropes, badminton sets, and more.



"evenflo & spalding holdings corp." edgar online, 10 july 1998. available at

"evenflo & spalding holdings corporation." hoover's online, 10 july 1998. available at

garrity, john. "special report: bad business ripping off one's rival is standard practice in golf." sports illustrated, 9 july 1990.

munson, lester. "scorecard: in the middle of two court battles over a billion-dollar market." sports illustrated, 5 august 1991.

spalding fact sheet. chicopee, ma: spalding sports worldwide, n.d.

For additional industry research:

investigate companies by their standard industrial classification codes, also known as sics. spalding sports worldwide's primary sic is:

3949 sporting & athletic goods, nec