|Headquarters||Shirebrook, Derbyshire, England|
|Products||Racquet sports equipment and accessories, Golf equipment|
|Revenue||approx. $650 million|
|Parent||Sports Direct International|
In most parts of the world, Dunlop Sports is owned by Sports Direct International. DNA (Housemarks) Limited, a company jointly owned by Sports Direct and SRI Sports, is the owner of the Dunlop brand in the United States. The brand is wholly owned by SRI Sports in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, and Spartan Sports have the rights to the brand in Australia and New Zealand.
Dunlop was established as a company manufacturing goods from rubber in 1889. Dunlop entered the sporting goods market in 1910, when it began to manufacture rubber golf balls at its base in Birmingham. The company used scientific methods to ensure consistent ball weights, sizes and markings. When the company introduced the Maxfli golf ball in 1922, demand soon outstripped supply. Until the early 1920s, the company's sporting goods manufacture was almost entirely confined to golf balls. In 1924, the company began to manufacture tennis balls. In 1925, F A Davis was acquired, which had tennis racket manufacturing expertise. Dunlop opened acquisition discussions with Slazenger in 1927, but without success. A separate company, Dunlop Sports, was formed in 1928. Headquarters were relocated from Birmingham to Waltham Abbey in Essex.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Dunlop was slow to adapt to the new materials that tennis rackets were increasingly being made from, believing that wood would remain the dominant material.
In 1983 the John Letters golf club business was sold back to members of the Letters family.
In 1986, the parent company, Dunlop Holdings, was acquired by the industrial company BTR for £549 million. BTR cut marketing spend to just 8 per cent of sales and reduced investment in grass roots sponsorship and research and development. Steffi Graf's sponsorship money was cut so she defected to a Wilson racket.
In 1996 Dunlop Slazenger was acquired by the private equity firm Cinven for £330 million. To save money, Cinven moved production of Dunlop tennis balls from England to the Philippines. Slazenger Golf and Maxfli were sold off to reduce debt.
Dunlop Sport was the official supplier of tennis balls for the clay court Grand Slam, the French Open in Paris (until 2011). It is the current supplier for the ARAG ATP World Team Championship in Düsseldorf. It is also the official supplier for all three clay court ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments, which includes the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome and the Mutua Madrileña Madrid Open. As for ATP World Tour 500 tournaments, it is the official supplier for the Barcelona Open Banco Sabadell. Additionally, it is the official supplier for ATP World Tour 250 tournaments at the BMW Open in Munich, the Estoril Open and the Open de Nice Côte d’Azur. Dunlop Sport is also the official supplier of the WTA Tour Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina.
Notable players that have used Dunlop tennis racquets (and switched sponsorships) in the past include Steffi Graf, John McEnroe, Amélie Mauresmo, Tomáš Berdych, Mardy Fish, Tommy Haas, Marat Safin, James Blake and Jamie Murray. Present users include:
Notable players who utilize Dunlop squash racquets include :
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- Dunlop » IBML
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- The Monday Interview: Phil Parnell - Henman's Tennis Partner Courts a World Title ; Dunlop Slazenger's Chief Executive Phil Parnell Reckons the Brand Deserves to Be Seeded Alo...
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- Dunlop Sport - company website