Prince Sports

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Prince Global Sports, LLC
IndustrySporting goods
Founded1970; 50 years ago (1970)
FounderRobert H. McClure
HeadquartersAtlanta, Georgia, USA
Area served
ProductsRackets, footwear, apparel, tennis balls, accessories
ParentAuthentic Brands Group

Prince Global Sports, LLC, is a US sporting goods manufacturing company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1970, Range of products manufactured includes rackets, footwear, apparel, tennis balls, stringing machines, hats, bags, among other accessories.

Prince is the leading global manufacturer of tennis rackets.[1][2]


The company was founded in 1970 by Robert H. McClure of Princeton, New Jersey (hence the name Prince) as a manufacturer of tennis ball machines, and went on to manufacture rackets. Howard Head, founder of the Head Ski Company, took tennis lessons following his retirement (his company was acquired by AMF in 1969). He used one of the tennis ball machines made by Prince, but was frustrated by his slow improvement in the game. Head joined the company in the early 1970s and developed the company's signature oversized tennis racket.[1] Although the Prince Classic aluminum racket was the first oversized racquet to be patented, the Bentley Fortissimo preceded the patent by two years, causing Germany to invalidate it.

During those years, the company was owned by a variety of different firms, including the Benetton Group of Italy,[3] Lincoln Share Management, Inc (which acquired Prince from Benetton in 2003), and Nautic Partners LLC. (2007).[4]

In July 2012, Authentic Brands Group acquired the Prince brand name from Nautic Partners, in a proceedure that filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 reorganization in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Prince Sports' portfolio of brands included Prince (tennis, squash and badminton), Ektelon (racquetball) and Viking (platform/paddle tennis). Its tennis unit recorded $59 million in sales in 2011. Authentic Brands owned the intellectual-property rights for the estates of Marilyn Monroe and Bob Marley among other celebrities.[5][4]

By September 2012, the Waitt Company, an Omaha, Nebraska,-based investment company, agreed to a 40-year license to operate the Prince brand across North America, South America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and India. Prince Global Sports is now operating as a subsidiary of Athletic Brands Holding Company which is majority owned by the Waitt Company. The company's portfolio of brands also includes Ektelon, Viking and Battle.

After recovering from bankruptcy, in March 2014 Prince announced that they were moving their headquarters from Bordentown, New Jersey to Atlanta. Prince's CEO Mike Ballardie stated that Atlanta had a thriving tennis community with more people playing tennis than any other US city, which made it a great base for the company. Atlanta also boasted the largest city tennis league in the world with more than 80,000 members of the Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association.[2]



Maria Sharapova with a Prince racklet at the 2009 French Open



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