|Founded||1895 (as J.W. Foster and Sons) in England, United Kingdom|
|Headquarters||Canton, Massachusetts, U.S.|
|Uli Becker (CEO)|
|Slogan||I Am What I Am|
Reebok International Limited is a producer and brand of athletic shoes, clothing, and accessories. Founded in 1895 in Bolton, Lancashire, England, it has been a subsidiary of the German group Adidas since 2005. Reebok global headquarters are located in Canton, Massachusetts, U.S.; with regional offices in Amsterdam (EMEA), Montreal (Canada), Hong Kong (Asia Pacific) and Mexico City (Central and South America).
- 1 History
- 2 Offices
- 3 Products
- 4 Endorsements
- 5 Sponsorships
- 6 Former sponsorships
- 7 See also
- 8 Note
- 9 References
- 10 External links
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In 1890 in Holcombe Brook, a small village six miles north east of Bolton, Joseph William Foster was producing and selling regular running shoes when he came up with the idea to create a novelty spiked running shoe. After his ideas progressed, he joined with his sons and founded a shoe company named J.W. Foster and Sons in 1895.
The company began distributing shoes across the United Kingdom and were worn by British athletes in the 1924 Summer Olympics held in Paris. In 1958, two of the founder's grandsons, Joe and Jeff Foster, renamed the company "Reebok," having found the name in a South African dictionary won in a running race by Joe Foster as a boy. The name is the Afrikaans for the grey rhebok, a type of African antelope.
In 1979, at the Chicago International Sneaker Trade show an American businessman, Paul Fireman, took notice of Reebok. Fireman was working for an outdoor sporting goods store and negotiated a deal to license and distribute the Reebok brand in the United States. The division was called Reebok USA Ltd. Later that year, Fireman introduced three new shoes to the market at $60. By 1981, Reebok reached more than $1.5 million in sales.
In 1982, Reebok debuted the Reebok Freestyle aerobics shoe, the first athletic shoe designed for women. Fitness professional Gin Miller became the face of "Step Reebok," the company's aerobics fitness campaign and program. The following year, Reebok's sales were $13 million.
The company began expanding from tennis and aerobics shoes to running and basketball throughout the mid to late 1980s, the largest segments of the athletic footwear industry at the time. In 1985, Reebok had its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol RBK.
In 1986, Reebok switched its logo from the Union Jack flag it had since its founding, to the vector logo with an abstract Union Jack streak across a race track. The switch sign transitioned the company into a performance brand as it began licensing deals with professional athletes in the NBA and NFL.
During the 1980s, Reebok began introducing sports clothing and accessories, along with a new line of children's athletic shoes (called 'Weeboks') at the end of 1986. By the end of the year, Reebok's sales were about $1 billion. One of the company's most signature technologies, the Reebok Pump, debuted in 1989 with more than 100 professional athletes wearing the footwear by 1992, including Shaquille O'Neal.
Reebok named Carl Yankowski president and chief executive officer of the brand in 1998, replacing former president Robert Meers. Yankowski stepped down one year later to accept an executive position at another company. Reebok chairman and CEO Paul Fireman took over as president for the first time in 12 years.
Reebok's parent company, Adidas, is headquartered in Germany, while the Reebok world headquarters remains located in Canton, Massachusetts. The Reebok-CCM Hockey offices are located in Quebec, Canada and Stockholm, Sweden. Reebok EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) has its regional office in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The company has additional regional offices located in Panama City (Reebok Latin America), Shanghai (Reebok Shanghai International Commerce Centre), Singapore, Taikoo Shing, and Toronto.
Reebok designs, manufactures, distributes and sells sport and fitness apparel, footwear, and accessories. The brand has also collaborated with other companies to produce fitness equipment and workouts.
The company has released numerous notable styles of footwear including the 1982 introduction of the Reebok Freestyle that was manufactured and marketed for women. In 1984, the shoe accounted for more than half of the Reebok sales. Following the aerobics trend from the 1980s to early 1990s, Reebok also released workout programs called Reebok Step beginning in 1989. The brand also introduced one of their most signature shoes, The Reebok Pump. The footwear collection was released as a men's basketball shoe and the world's first fully adjustable fit controlled with manual air allocation.
The Reebok Ventilator, a line of lightweight athletic shoes with vented side panels, was first introduced in 1990. In 1996, Reebok signed a $50 million endorsement deal with Allen Iverson when he signed with the Philadelphia 76ers. Iverson collaborated with Reebok during his contract to create the second-longest running basketball shoe line in history, beginning with the Question shoe in '96 and ending with Answer XIII.
In 2010, the brand released Reebok Zig, an athletic footwear technology and collection of shoes include zigzag foam soles designed to push athletes forward. The Reebok Nano was released in 2011 and is the first official CrossFit shoe. The company has also partnered up with Les Mills and CrossFit to produce more fitness apparel, footwear, and workouts. Reebok released the Z-Series foam, a combination of dense midsole and outsole so the foam is cushioned but not worn-down. The foam debuted on the ZQuick TR with Reebok's new delta logo in 2014.
From 2002 to 2012, the company held the exclusive rights to manufacture and market both authentic and replica uniform jerseys, sideline clothing and caps, and onfield football footwear (marketed as NFL Equipment) of the teams of the National Football League (NFL). The company hired filmmaker Errol Morris to produce a series of 30-second commercials that aired during the 2006 NFL season.
As of 2004, Reebok also holds the rights to manufacture Canadian Football League (CFL) onfield jerseys, sideline gear and footwear. Reebok signed a four-year deal to become the official shoe supplier to Major League Baseball (MLB) during the same year.
Reebok has held the rights to produce the on-ice "EDGE" Uniform System, performance clothing and training footwear of the National Hockey League (NHL) since 2006.
Reebok was also the exclusive uniform provider for Brazilian clubs Cruzeiro, Internacional and São Paulo FC. In Mexico, Reebok was kit provider of Chivas de Guadalajara before the team was taken over by parent company Adidas in 2011.
In addition, Reebok acquired official National Hockey League sponsor CCM in 2004, and is now manufacturing ice hockey equipment under the CCM and Reebok brands, and has signed popular young stars Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin to endorsement deals (Crosby for Reebok, Ovechkin for CCM, though Ovechkin currently endorses Bauer). Reebok Hockey has its headquarters in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Reebok has phased out the CCM name on NHL authentic and replica jerseys in recent years, using the Reebok logo since 2005. However, recently Reebok has been making vintage jerseys (like the 1967 Toronto Maple Leafs blue jerseys shown here) under the CCM name. The CCM name is also used on the uniforms of the league's on-ice officials.
When the Bolton Wanderers moved to a brand new ground in the late-1990s, their new home was named the Reebok Stadium. Several other English clubs had Reebok sponsorship deals up until the purchase by Adidas, but most have since switched to either the parent brand (which has a long history in football) or another company altogether. In Germany, Reebok sponsored football club 1. FC Köln.
The company maintained its relationship with its origins in the UK through a long-term sponsorship deal with Bolton Wanderers, a Championship football club. In 2009, however, Bolton changed their sponsorship to 188bet. In April 2014, Bolton Wanderers officially announced the Reebok Stadium would be officially rebranded in a new sponsorship deal with sportswear manufacturer Macron (sportswear), who will manufacture the club's kits and sponsor the stadium under the name Macron Stadium in a four-year deal announced by the club's chairman, Phil Gartside.
In rugby union, Reebok sponsored the Wales national team until late 2008, who won the Grand Slam in the Six Nations Championship in that year, and the Tasman Makos in New Zealand's domestic competition, the Air New Zealand Cup.
In 2006, FC Barcelona and France national team striker Thierry Henry (then playing for Arsenal) signed a deal to join the "I Am What I Am" campaign on August 1, 2006. Ryan Giggs has also done "I Am What I Am" commercials. Also, on August 1, Andriy Shevchenko started his endorsement deal with the company.
In 2005, Reebok also signed an exclusive agreement to design and supply all eight team home and away strips for the new Australian A-League competition. Although not an expensive deal, this partnership paid dividends for Reebok, due to the growing popularity of football and the league in the area. An estimated 125,000 A-League jerseys were sold in Australia, a record for a single league's sales in a year for a sports manufacturer. Reebok's agreement ended at the finish of the 2010–11 season.
Reebok sponsored kits for Indian Premier League teams, such as the Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kolkata Knight Riders, Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings in the first edition of the league held in 2008. However, for the second edition held in 2009, the sponsorships included Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai Super Kings, Kings XI Punjab kits.
In May 2012, Reebok India filed a criminal complaint against former top employees, Subhinder Singh Prem and Vishnu Bhagat, accusing them of a financial fraud of up to US$233 million. On the charge of alleged Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) violations, Reebok India was booked and may face penal action. Twelve further arrests of employees and associates were made during the same period. As of July 2013, Prem and Bhagat were granted bail by the high court but remained imprisoned following their detainment in September 2012.
One of Reebok's most prominent athletes, Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni, was named by Forbes as the world's 31st highest-paid sportsperson in June 2012. At the time of the article, Dhoni endorsed more than 20 other brands in deals that were cumulatively valued at US$23 million.
Rapper Jay-Z became the first non-athlete to get a signature shoe from Reebok. The "S. Carter Collection by Rbk" was launched on November 21, 2003, and the S. Carter sneaker became the fastest-selling shoe in the company's history. Later, Reebok made a deal with rapper 50 Cent to release a line of G-Unit sneakers, and artists such as Nelly and Miri Ben-Ari have become spokespersons for the company. Reebok also signed Scarlett Johansson and introduced her own line of clothing and footwear called Scarlett Hearts, part of the Rbk Lifestyle Collection. Reebok also produce shoes for Emporio Armani under the label EA7. These shoes are marketed to the high-end fashion market.
In late 2011 and 2012, sneaker retailer Extra Butter, of Rockville Centre, New York, collaborated with Reebok to revive two Reebok Classic Basketball sneakers: The Pump AXT and the Pump OXT. The shoe company released a collaborative shoe with the Palace skateboard brand in July 2013 that used the Reebok Workout and Reebok Classic Leather models. Palace published a video "loop" on its Vimeo channel to coincide with the shoes' release. Ambassadors include Rick Ross, Nicole Scherzinger, Swizz Beatz, Toni Nkhahle, Chad Johnson, Amir Khan, Erin Andrews, Alex Ovechkin, Toya Delazy and many more.
- CFL — exclusive kit provider for all its teams (2004–present)
Mixed Martial Arts
- Anthony Pettis (UFC
- Johny Hendricks (UFC)
- Jon Jones (UFC)
- Ronda Rousey (UFC)
- Robbie Lawler (UFC)
- Conor McGregor (UFC)
- Paige VanZant (UFC)
- Georgi Karakhanyan (Bellator MMA)
Track and field
- NFL — exclusive kit provider for all its teams (2002–12)
- NBA – exclusive kit provider for all its teams (2001–06)
- WNBA – exclusive kit provider for all its teams (2001–06)
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