On to the next one: After losing NFL deal, Reebok turns to fitness

With its 10-year National Football League deal coming to an end, Reebok is filling the void by focusing on fitness apparel. It’s solidifying its niche in the industry by partnering with the ever-popular CrossFit.
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Reebok is returning to its fitness roots after focusing on NFL apparel for the past decade.

Since the company’s 10-year affiliation with the NFL ended, with Nike driving the cost of the deal to $1 billion (versus $250 million 10 years ago), Reebok has renewed its focus on fitness apparel and accessories. Reebok President Uli Becker told the Boston Herald this past weekend that the company always had planned to increase its presence in the personal fitness niche, given that it started there in the 1980s.

Following through on that stategy, Reebok recently partnered with the fitness craze CrossFit to sponsor events and create apparel, hats and shoes specific to CrossFit. Officials with both companies were unavailable for comment, but CrossFit Founder Greg Glassman previously stated that while he shies away from partnerships because he doesn’t want to endorse specific products or companies, he's making an exception this time around.

SNEWS suspects this will be good deal for both groups, including Reebok which offers a line of fitness accessories such as dumb bells, stability balls and the Reebok balance board.

Recently Reebok sponsored the CrossFit “World’s Fittest” Games and affiliates across the country are branding themselves as Reebok CrossFit centers, or “boxes” as the CrossFit community calls them, which could lead to an even greater desire for customers seeking to become active in the CrossFit community who might want to purchase Reebok fitness accessories (or accessories in general) at your stores.

According to a news story in the Navy Times, Reebok Vice President Chris Froio, who is in charge of fitness and training, said the partnership began when a few Reebok employees became devout “CrossFitters” and spread their love throughout the company.

The Adidas Group purchased Reebok for $3.8 billion in 2005.

Specialty fitness retailers could take advantage of the growth in CrossFit and Mixed Martial Arts, as customers are increasingly coming into stores and asking for products for these activities, said Tyler Pederson of HealthStyles in Colorado.

--Ana Trujillo

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