|Industry||Sports equipment, textile, footwear|
|Products||Rackets, strings, balls, shuttlecock, sportswear, sneakers, accessories|
|Revenue||approx. $650 million|
Dunlop Sport is a British sports equipment manufacturing company established in 1910 that focuses on racquet sports, more specifically tennis, squash, padel and badminton. Products by Dunlop Sport include rackets, strings, balls, shuttlecocks, and bags. Sportswear and clothing line includes t-shirts, shorts, skirts, jackets, pants, socks, caps, sneakers, and wristbands.
In most of the world, Dunlop Sport is operated by SRI Sports, a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo Rubber Industries, which acquired the Dunlop brand in 2017. 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. The company entered the sporting goods market in 1910, when it began to manufacture rubber golf balls at its base in Birmingham. The company introduced the Maxfli golf ball in 1922.
Dunlop extended into tennis ball manufacture in 1924. In 1925, F A Davis was acquired, which had tennis racket manufacturing expertise. Dunlop opened acquisition discussions with Slazenger in 1927, but without success. In 1928 the sports division became a subsidiary of Dunlop Rubber named Dunlop Sports. 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 1986, the parent company, Dunlop Holdings, was acquired by the industrial company BTR for £549 million. BTR cut marketing spending 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.
In December 2016, Sports Direct announced it had agreed to sell the Dunlop brand to Sumitomo Rubber Industries for £112 million ($137.5 million). Sumitomo already owned the rights to the sports as well as the rubber industries brand in most of the world. The sale is due to be completed by May 2017.
Dunlop Sport is the current supplier for the Australian Open as well as the 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 Masters, the Rome Masters and the Madrid Masters. As for ATP World Tour 500 tournaments, it is the official supplier for the Barcelona Open.
Additionally, Dunlop is the official supplier for ATP World Tour 250 tournaments at the BMW Open in Munich, the Portugal Open and the Open de Nice Côte d'Azur. Dunlop Sport is also the official supplier of the WTA Tour Volvo Cars Open in Charleston, South Carolina.
Notable present and former players that have used Dunlop tennis rackets (and switched sponsorships) include:
- Pat Cash
- Lew Hoad
- Rod Laver
- Tony Roche
- Patrick Rafter
- Mark Philippoussis
- Jürgen Melzer
- Tiago Fernandes
- Wang Qiang
- Cédric Pioline
- Marc-Kevin Goellner
- Philipp Marx
- Jaroslav Drobný
- Ross Hutchins
- Jonathan Marray
- Greg Rusedski
- Sjeng Schalken
- Tom Okker
- Treat Huey
- Tommy Robredo
- Kevin Anderson
- Wayne Ferreira
- Nicolás Almagro
- Thomas Johansson
- Mikael Pernfors
- Tim Smyczek
- Darius Loghman-Adham
- Danai Udomchoke
- Sanchai Ratiwatana
- John McEnroe
Notable players who use Dunlop squash racquets include :
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