Srixon, Cleveland Golf, XXIO to be affiliated under Dunlop umbrella

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA: In a global alignment strategy, the sports business for Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd. (SRI) will be affiliated under the DUNLOP® brand umbrella. Currently operating as Srixon®/Cleveland Golf®/XXIO®, SRI’s North American sales company Roger Cleveland Golf Company, Inc. (RCGC) will now be doing business as Dunlop Sports Americas.

Based in Kobe, Japan, SRI is a global leader in tires, materials, industrial products, and sports with nearly $8,000,000,000 (USD equivalent) in yearly sales revenue. The alignment of golf and racket sports branding in North America will showcase the global breadth and scope of the DUNLOP business.

“With a proud, rich history, DUNLOP has long been a leader in sports innovation and quality,” said Scott Carlyle, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing. “Building on DUNLOP’s existing awareness and brand strength, we wanted to align the branding of the U.S. sports business to be consistent with our other top strategic regions including Japan and South Korea. Over time, we expect sports enthusiasts worldwide will recognize DUNLOP as a mark of performance, quality, and innovation, and more easily recognize the vast resources, influence, and scope of our global sports business.”

In 2017, SRI added the DUNLOP brand in the sports category in North America through an acquisition. With global synergy now possible, the common and consistent use of DUNLOP branding will allow for better recognition of the global scale of the sports business. Srixon, Cleveland Golf, and XXIO golf brands will retain their current identities, branding, and positions in the market under Dunlop Sports Americas corporate brand.

Beginning with the first men’s golf major of the year, the DUNLOP logo will start to make its way on tour, including on the back of the headwear of defending major champion Hideki Matsuyama and all tour players contracted for headwear. Srixon and Cleveland Golf will continue to feature prominently on tour with Srixon remaining the primary brand on all staff bags and headwear. For racket sports, DUNLOP will remain as the featured brand on products and athletes.

ABOUT DUNLOP

Q: Who is Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd.?

A: Based in Kobe, Japan, Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd. (SRI) is a global leader in

tires, materials, industrial products, and sports. SRI’s yearly sales revenue is

approximately $8B USD and the sports division accounts for roughly 10% of the global

sales. The sports division is diverse and wide-reaching, especially in Japan, including:

golf equipment sales, tennis/racket sports equipment sales, events/tournament

management business, golf and tennis schools, ownership/management of a golf

course, and a wellness division that operates numerous fitness centers throughout

Japan.

Q: What is a quick background on DUNLOP’s relevance and history with sports?

A: DUNLOP was a pioneer in golf ball design, technology, and manufacturing through

the entire 20th century – both innovating and selling products under the DUNLOP brand

and manufacturing top-selling ball products for other popular brands through the latter

half of the 20th century. Over the same time span, DUNLOP was ubiquitous in the tennis

world from the 1950s through the late 20th century with professionals winning numerous

grand slam titles with DUNLOP rackets and DUNLOP tennis balls played in numerous

prestigious tournaments worldwide. DUNLOP has remained a constant presence of

quality and performance in Japan in golf and tennis continuously for decades.

Recent investments have already fortified the racket sports business and are

accelerating progress back to a leadership position in global markets. Specifically, in

2019, DUNLOP became the official ball of the ATP Tour, the highest level of men’s

professional tennis. Additionally, DUNLOP is the official ball of the Australian Open

grand slam tennis tournament. Since the SRI acquisition in 2017, the racket sports

business has expanded significantly globally.

Q: What is a brief corporate history of the North American business that is now

associated with DUNLOP?

A: In 1996, SRI/Dunlop Sports launched the Srixon brand in golf. Shortly thereafter,

Srixon golf balls launched globally, including establishment of the Srixon Sports USA

sales company near Atlanta, GA. Srixon balls had early adoption on tour due to the

improved performance from the unique and innovative golf ball technology. Then, in

2000, the XXIO brand launched in Japan and quickly became a market share leader in

Japan for nearly two decades with numerous innovations in lightweight and distancedriven

technology. In 2007, SRI added the Cleveland Golf brand to the portfolio through

an acquisition from Quiksilver and moved business operations entirely to Huntington

Beach, CA. With both a club and ball business consolidated, business began expanding

in NA in earnest. In 2014, the XXIO brand was introduced into the US market. In 2017,

the SRI acquisition of DUNLOP brand in North America allowed the reformation of the

DUNLOP racket sports business in Greenville, SC under SRI/RCGC ownership. Since

then, both the golf and racket sports businesses have grown significantly and become

trusted performance-focused brands with high quality, consistency, and technology.

Q: Will the Srixon/Cleveland Golf/XXIO brands retain their own identities, advertising,

positioning, and product lines?

A: Yes. Very little will be changing that will be visible to consumers. The primary

changes for the corporate branding will be predominantly visible to dealers, trade

partners, and media. Though the DUNLOP logo will be increasingly associated with all

brands and starting to appear on the back of tour headwear, Srixon will remain the

featured strategic brand for global golf tour promotion in coming years.

Q: Will you be launching any golf products only bearing the DUNLOP logo? (e.g., new

balls or new clubs)

A: There is no intention at this time to add new or independent golf product lines only

bearing the DUNLOP logo.

Q: DUNLOP has been the name of the tennis/racket sports business in North America,

will that change?

A: No, that will not change. In future years, the golf business will start to be more linked

to the DUNLOP brand and underneath the DUNLOP brand umbrella like other key

strategic regions.

Q: In the past, especially in the UK and Europe, some DUNLOP golf products have

been lower price and primarily featured at sporting goods stores. Is this the same

product?

A: No. The previous owner of the DUNLOP trademark for sports products licensed

DUNLOP on some products that were lower priced and used different quality and

manufacturing standards than SRI. These products no longer exist and the positioning

of products bearing the DUNLOP mark going forward will all be more premium and

associated with the high quality and performance standards of SRI. Premium,

performance brands such as XXIO, Srixon, and Cleveland Golf, played by some of the

best golfers in the world, will now be associated with DUNLOP. DUNLOP will be treated

as a mark of quality, performance, and innovation going forward.

Q: Will the logos be updated?

A: The individual brand logos will not change.

Q: Will we see any changes with the DUNLOP logo on the professional golf tours and

players?

A: Yes. Starting in April, the back of tour headwear for Srixon tour players will feature

the DUNLOP logo. Srixon will remain as the featured front of headwear logo and

Cleveland Golf as the featured side of headwear logo (same as current). Srixon will

remain the featured brand of the tour staff bag carried by professional players. This logo

scheme will continue for all tournaments April 2022 and onward.

Q: Will addresses, locations, or operations be changing for the company?

A: No. The same two locations will remain unchanged. Huntington Beach, CA will

remain the primary office, manufacturing, and warehouse focused on golf business (with

some operational support of racket sports). Greenville, SC will remain the primary

location for racket sports business (with some warehousing, distribution, and

operational support for golf business).

Q: Will the websites change?

A: Maybe eventually, but not in 2022. The websites will remain the same.

Q: Will the social media handles change?

A: Maybe eventually, but not in 2022. The social handles will remain the same.

 

Fairways Magazine

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