I just got this press release from the Arena PR Ninjas and I have to post it.
Arena is coming to So Cal! This sends a clear message to Speedo that they summarily believe that they have overwhelmingly captured the brand pedestal post the 2009 FINA World Championships and that they have both the confidence and the ability to leverage their brand in the USA.
Arena Swim USA is named exclusive Distributor of the Arena Brand in the USA
Tolentino (Italy), 18 December 2009 – Arena, one of the leading companies at world - wide level in the sports waterwear category, is proud to announce to have named Arena Swim USA, a company controlled by Gathering Storm Athletic Group, based in Carlsbad, CA USA to provide exclusive distribution, sales, marketing and product merchandising for Arena branded products in the U.S. market.
The long term distribution agreement just signed represents an historical milestone for Arena’s re-entry into the U.S. market. Arena had started preparing the ground for such a big come back in the biggest sportswear market in the world, by stipulating a selected number of prestigious sponsorship agreements with top level American Swimmers (Aaron Peirsol, Rebecca Soni and Eric Shanteau), as well as with two of the most competitive NCAA Swimming Teams (The Men/Women’s Swimming Programs at the University of Auburn and the Men’s Swimming Program at the University of CAL Berkeley).
The U.S. based management team in charge of bringing the Arena brand back to be a protagonist in the American waterwear market will include President Tim McCool, who possesses 28 years of experience and a proven track record of success with brands such as adidas, Nike and Babolat. At Babolat North America, a leading manufacturer of tennis products, McCool served as President and oversaw U.S. sales and marketing. Under his direction, the brand catapulted to No. 2 in market share within the specialty trade channel in less than a year.
Vice President, Arena Brand & US Distribution Manager Jeff Turpin has more than 25 years of experience in the action sports industry with a career long focus on Swimwear with brands and companies that include; VF/Jantzen, Authentic Fitness/Warnaco, Apparel Ventures & Nautica, and Coastal Apparel & Tommy Bahama. Turpin’s responsibilities at these companies covered Sales, Design & Development, Manufacturing and Distribution.
Vice President of Marketing Bryan Smeltzer brings 22 years of experience with premium brands such as Oakley and K-Swiss.
“We are extremely happy and excited about the huge market opportunity represented by the U.S. market said Cristiano Portas, Arena Group CEO. Arena has been living some of the most important pages of its own history in the U.S.A. already back in the 80’s, so we truly believe it is now time to be back on the marketplace, allowing millions of American swimmers and swim-fans to access the products of a brand they have been knowing and appreciating for quite a while. We are absolutely sure that Arena Swim USA and Gathering Storm’s executive team have the right experience to make this come back a success, having worked with some of the world’s greatest sports brands. We look forward to working with these industry veterans, as we have discovered, during our conversations, that we share much in terms of moral values, business principles and best practices.”
“Arena embodies an Italian tradition of technologically advanced products with rich design heritage,” Said McCool. “Swimmers have always taken a more global view of their sport and we believe this brand is poised to make significant in-roads in the U.S. Market as we move towards the 2012 Olympic Games in London.”
Since 1973, Arena creates and markets waterwear products for competitive swimmers and swim-fans and it is recognised as one of the premium brands for high quality swimwear and equipment. Over the last 36 years, the Company has developed a strong expertise in developing best in class products with particular focus on the Pool segment, while also gradually expanding into the Leisure/Beach segment.
Nowadays, Arena operates with commercial subsidiaries in Italy, France and Germany and through a network of worldwide distributors and licensees. The Arena brand is present in 80 countries worldwide, out of which 70 are directly managed by the Arena Group (6 through commercial subsidiaries and 64 through distributors and licensees), while in the Far East (10 countries) the brand is owned and managed by the Descente Group.
The genuine liaison of Arena to the world of sport and in particular to swimming competitions is enhanced by sponsoring activities at different levels, including governing bodies, national federations, athletes and clubs.