Resist-A-Ball, Spri end licensing agreement

Resist-A-Ball, a forerunner in bringing stability ball products and education to fitness professionals and therefore to consumers, and Spri Products, a leader in rubber resistance products, have ended their relationship after six years into a 15-year licensing agreement.
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Resist-A-Ball, a forerunner in bringing stability ball products and education to fitness professionals and therefore to consumers, and Spri Products, a leader in rubber resistance products, have ended their relationship after six years into a 15-year licensing agreement.

"It really was a great relationship," Resist-A-ball founder Mike Morris told SNEWS®. "The Spri agreement has been really good, but I think it got to a point where we both thought it was best for both of us to go our separate ways."

Both companies are moving forward and continuing with stability balls, but in different directions.

Resist-A-Ball (RAB) has announced it will join forces with Body Masters equipment manufacturer. Body Masters, which will be the exclusive distributor of the RAB balls and products, will also house the company's headquarters in its offices in Rayne, La. Morris said he and business partner and wife, Stephanie Morris, have moved back to Louisiana from Florida.

Spri Products, based in Libertyville, Ill., will launch its own Spri-branded line of stability balls, which will be in the company's new catalog out in June. The current catalog is filled with RAB products, educational videos and packages of the two. According to Craig Lerner of Spri (www.spriproducts.com), discussions about splitting up began in late 2003, were finalized earlier this year and formally announced this month.

"Spri is just advancing its ball line and going in some different directions," Lerner told SNEWS®. "It's basically (all about) Spri developing its own brand of ball moving forward."

Lerner said the newly branded product is exactly the same ball except with the Spri logo on it instead of the RAB logo.

"The balls don't come from a Resist-a-Ball factory. There's no change in product, no change in manufacturing, no change in shipping," Lerner added.

Morris of RAB (www.resistaball.com) said his company will pare back the ball selection to two -- the regular ball in three sizes and an egg-shaped ball in two sizes, both made as anti-burst types for safety. The balls will be branded "Resist-A-Ball by Body Masters." He said his company's big promotional push will come this spring, as well as a catalog in conjunction with Body Masters (www.body-masters.com). The two companies also will join forces in one booth at the IDEA conference for fitness professionals in early July. Morris promised the introduction of a new product there aimed at personal trainers done by the two companies, as well as more of a push into the consumer and retail arena to come.

Transitioning the split of the two companies will take place between now and June, with the relationship officially ending July 1 -- just in time for the IDEA show July 7-9 in San Diego, Calif. Spri's Lerner also alluded to a new product development, which the company plans to introduce within the next couple of months. Also, for the first time in Spri's history, it will produce separate catalogs for consumers and professionals.

SNEWS® View: Together, the two companies are pretty much responsible for the world's awareness and education about using large inflatable balls for training, stretching, strengthening and rehabilitation. Morris, with his background in biomechanics and physical therapy, had the vision when he first convinced the IDEA association to let him present his program at its conferences in the early '90s. He told SNEWS®: "When I first rolled out this thing, people said, 'It's a ball. What are you doing?'" Spri not only understood, but also helped take the business to a broader market when the two joined forces in the mid- to late '90s. Now, there are a million companies -- OK, OK, give or take a few -- that are shopping and selling blow-up stability balls. Some balls are good. Some are just cheap. Although RAB balls (and we assume the Spri balls-to-come) cost more because of the quality, they are the types the consumer should be getting their hands on since they will last longer, feel better and be safer.

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