Football, one of America’s favourite pastimes, has raised a number of safety concerns due to the increase in the number of injuries that are causing irreversible physical damage in players. In fact, football has the highest rate of concussions and “catastrophic injuries” of any other sport, from the high school to the professional level. Equipment manufacturers are seeking ways to reduce the rate of injury by designing helmets and protective equipment that reduce impact through physical barriers and shock-absorbent materials. Several newly-developed helmets come equipped with sensor technology that can determine whether a player has endured too much impact and must be removed from the game. Demand for safer equipment, coupled with more female participation in professional football tournaments, has helped to fuel the American football equipment market in the US. According to analysts at Technavio, the market, which was valued at $746.6 million in 2017, will reach just over $907 million by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 3.97%.
The market is broken down into five categories: protective gear, which, not surprisingly is the largest segment, followed by helmets, cleats, balls, and training equipment, respectively. The greatest amount of innovation is occurring in the helmet segment, where it is needed most. That being said, it is almost impossible to design a 100% concussion-proof helmet, therefore it is also up to the NFL to continue improving its safety regulations and requirements.
Founded in 1924, Adidas is a German company renowned for its athletic footwear. The largest sportswear manufacturer in the Europe, the company designs and manufactures sports goods under the brand names of Adidas, Reebok, and Taylormade-adidas. Recognized globally for its R&D efforts, in 2015 Adidas launched brands named Adidas X, Adidas Boost and Adidas Ace.
Amer Sports is a sporting goods company with internationally recognized brands including Salomon, Wilson, Atomic, Arc’teryx, Mavic, Suunto and Precor. The company’s technically advanced sports equipment, footwear, apparel and accessories improve performance and increase the enjoyment of sports and outdoor activities. Amer Sports shares are listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki stock exchange.
BRG Sports, Inc., formerly known as Easton-Bell Sports, Inc., is engaged in the design, development, and marketing of branded sports equipment, protective products, and related accessories worldwide. It markets and licenses its products under the Easton, Bell, Riddell, Giro, and Blackburn brands. It offers products for various sports, including football, cycling, snow sports, and power sports.
An American multinational corporation, Nike designs, manufactures and sells athletic footwear, apparel, equipment, and accessories. Founded in 1964 as ‘Blue Ribbon Sports’, the company was renamed as Nike in 1971. Apart from manufacturing sports equipment and related products, the company also runs retail stores under the name Niketown.
Schutt is an Illinois-based sporting company that develops American football, baseball, and softball equipment based in Litchfield, Illinois. Schutt’s ION 4D, AiR XP, Vengeance and DNA football helmet lines are the only helmets to have TPU Cushioning, which is the same material used by the United States Armed Forces for fighter pilot and paratrooper helmets.
Founded in 1996 by former University of Maryland football player Kevin Plank, Under Armour is the originator of performance apparel – gear engineered to keep athletes cool, dry and light throughout the course of a game, practice or workout. Under Armour’s diverse product assortment for men, women and youth consists of HeatGear®, ColdGear®, and AllSeasonGear.
Xenith was founded in 2006 by a former Harvard quarterback and Columbia University MD. Xenith launched its first helmet in 2009, which is now worn by hundreds of thousands of players across the globe Xenith’s headquarters and production facility are located in Detroit, Michigan. The 66,000-square-foot facility houses an impact testing lab, custom paint booth, reconditioning operation, showroom and warehouse.
Other prominent vendors
For over 25 years, CHAMPRO Sports has manufactured high performance equipment and apparel for America’s athletes. CHAMPRO Sports equipment and apparel is manufactured in the best and most experienced factories in the world. CHAMPRO Sports equipment and apparel is distributed exclusively through sporting goods specialty stores.
Cutters Sports is a market leader in football gloves and baseball batting gloves with its innovative C-TACK Grip Material for amateur to pro athletes. Simply put, C-TACK™, Cutters’ proprietary Performance Grip Material, provides the strongest, most consistent, most durable grip. Cutters Gloves and Baseball Protective are worn by several Pro and College athletes and are available to all athletes in thousands of retail locations.
Douglas Industries is a family owned and operated business located in Eldridge, Iowa. Founded in 1967, Douglas started out manufacturing industrial fabrics. By the early 1970’s, Douglas developed a diverse line of sports related products for tennis, baseball, basketball, volleyball , football and soccer. Douglas has been involved in countless high profile projects across the nation and throughout the world.
Franklin Sports got its start in 1946 as a regional brand of sporting goods products. Irving H. Franklin, who co-founded Franklin Sports in 1946 with his brother Sydney Franklin, brought the innovative idea of centering a complete line of products on a single athlete – Joe Namath. Over the years Franklin has affiliated with the best in sports including world class athletes like Sugar Ray Leonard, David Robinson, Dan Marino, and Barry Bonds.
EvoShield is a privately held company located in Athens, Georgia that specializes in performance-driven sports protection with multi-sport applications. EvoShield differentiates themselves from competitors through the use of their unique “Gel-to-Shell” technology. Their patented material reacts with elements in the air and turns the product from a soft, moldable material to a hard and durable shell.
EXOS, formerly Athletes’ Performance, is an American company founded in 1999 to maximize the potential of athletes. The company focuses on proactive health and performance for elite athletes, the military and businesses. It has private training facilities in Phoenix, Arizona, Fieldhouse USA in Frisco, Texas; at The StubHub Center in Carson, California; the SKLZ headquarters in Carlsbad, California and at the Andrews Institute in Gulf Breeze, Florida.