Head Sport GmbH
TypeGesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung
IndustrySports equipment
Founded1950; 73 years ago (1950) in Baltimore, Maryland
FounderHoward Head
Key people
Howard Head (founder)
Johan Eliasch (CEO)
ProductsSportswear, equipment, footwear
RevenueIncrease $375.4 million (2014)[2]
Decrease $2.8 million (2014)[2]
Number of employees
2,499 (2014)[2]
ParentHead Austria GmbH
Head N.V.[3] (formerly)

Head Sport GmbH is an American-Austrian manufacturing company headquartered in Kennelbach. It owns the American tennis racket brand Head. Head GmbH is a group that includes several previously independent companies, including the original "Head Ski Company" (founded in the United States in 1950); Tyrolia, an Austrian ski-equipment manufacturer; and Mares, an Italian manufacturer of diving equipment.[3]

Head currently produces a wide range of products for skiing, snowboarding, swimming, tennis and other racket sports. Head Ski Company produced one of the first successful metal-wood composite downhill skis, the Head Standard, and one of the first oversized metal tennis rackets.[4]


Head Sport GmbH was founded in Baltimore, Maryland, United States, in 1950 by aeronautical engineer Howard Head, after he took a ski trip and was astonished to see his skis were made of wood in an era when metals and plastics were replacing wood in many product designs. Head worked at the Glenn L. Martin Company where they used a form of aluminum and plastic laminate to build the fuselages of aircraft, and he felt the same material would make an ideal ski. After two years of constantly breaking skis, by the winter of 1950 they had a design that not only stayed together, but made turning dramatically easier.

The Head Standard would rapidly grow in sales through the 1950s, until it and other Head designs were capturing over 50% of the US market during the 1960s, making them the leading ski manufacturer in the U.S. and the UK. Head resisted the change to fibreglass construction. In 1967, Howard Head hired Harold Seigle as company president, and became the Chairman of the Board and CEO. Bored of the results, in 1969 Head sold the company to the AMF, and took up tennis. He later bought a controlling interest in Prince Sports.

Head products
Tennis racket used by Marat Safin
Novak Djokovic used a Head racquet in Wimbledon 2017

In the late 1960s, a tennis division was created when Howard Head figured out a way of strengthening the tennis racket by introducing the aluminium frame. The idea became a success and was first introduced in the 1969 US Open. After Howard Head's departure, one of the tennis players that Head sponsored, Arthur Ashe, won Wimbledon, defeating favored Jimmy Connors in 1975. Also during the 1970s, Head acquired a diving manufacturer, Mares, and a ski binding company, Tyrolia. While under AMF ownership, Head manufactured tennis racquets in Boulder, Colorado, and Kennelbach, Austria. Also in 1969, Head signed Olympic champion ski racer Jean-Claude Killy to endorse a new metal and fiberglass ski, the Killy 800. Head subsequently developed a product line of Killy skis.

In 1985, Minneapolis-based Minstar Inc. acquired Head through hostile takeover of AMF.[5] Two years later, Head started making athletic footwear, and introduced the "Radial Tennis Shoes". The following year, Head opened a new plant in Austria in order to produce more tennis rackets. In 1989, management bought out Head, Tyrolia, and Mares, to form HTM. The takeover was backed by private equity firm Freeman Spogli & Co. In 1993, HTM was sold to tobacco conglomerate Austria Tabak. Johan Eliasch, the current chairman, took over the company in 1995, which in 2014 was a Netherlands Antilles corporation.[6]

For a short time, around 1995, Head offered golf clubs as well.

In 1997, Head created the first titanium and graphite tennis racket. Over the next two years, Head acquired three more companies, DACOR, BLAX, and Penn Racquet Sports. Penn tennis balls are used in many high-profile tournaments worldwide, while Penn racquetballs are the official balls of the IRT and U.S. Racquetball Association. Penn once produced tennis balls and racquetballs in Phoenix, Arizona. In March 2009, Head shut down the Penn ball manufacturing factory. Now all tennis balls are produced in China.

Head also licenses its brand to makers of clothing apparel (including shoes), accessories, bicycles, skates, watches, balls, fitness Equipment and drinks.[7]

Head proved to be successful in 2012, with three Major winners during the year: Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open, Maria Sharapova at the French Open and Andy Murray at the US Open.[8]

In 2019, it was reported that Head purchased ASE assets.[9] ASE is the owner of Fuji Bikes, Breezer Bikes, SE Bikes, Kestrel Bikes, Tuesday Bikes, PHAT Bikes, Oval, Performance Bicycle Stores and Nashbar. On January 22, 2019 it was reported that Head Sports backed out of the deal to buy ASE.[10]


Head started integrating graphene into their rackets in 2013.[11]


Current range of products by Head includes:

Sport Equipment
Golf Golf clubs, bags
Skiing Skis, boots, bindings, poles, helmets, goggles, bags
Snowboarding Boards, helmets, sunglasses, boots, bindings, bags
Swimming Swimwear: suits, goggles, apparel
Tennis/Padel/Squash Rackets, strings, balls, sneakers, clothing, bags
Scuba Diving Regulators, BCD's, Wetsuits, boots/wetsuit accessories, Closed Circuit Rebreathers, Gauge/Instruments
Pickleball Rackets, Balls
A Pickleball paddle made by Head.
A Pickleball paddle made by Head.


Some of the athletes sponsored by Head are:

Tennis sponsorships



Retired players

See also


  1. ^ "Sports – HEAD". www.head.com. Retrieved 2020-10-15.
  2. ^ a b c "Annual Report 2014" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-04-03. Retrieved 2015-10-26.
  3. ^ a b "Head N.V. History". Retrieved March 28, 2013.
  4. ^ "Howard Head: Ski and Racquet Revolutionary". Retrieved March 28, 2013.
  5. ^ Daniels, Lee A. (15 June 1985). "AMF Agrees to Offer By Jacobs of $24 a Share". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
  6. ^ "Annual Report 2014" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-04-03. Retrieved 2015-10-26.
  7. ^ "About".
  8. ^ "Tennis".
  9. ^ Head Sport agrees to buy most ASE assets for $22M by Steve Frothingham on Bycicle Retailer, January 17, 2019
  10. ^ "ASE explains why it rejected the largest bid for its assets". Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. Retrieved 2019-02-04.
  11. ^ "Head Racquet Technology". Tennis Express. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
  12. ^ fisalpine.com - April–2011
  13. ^ "Lara Gut - Professional Skier from Switzerland".
  14. ^ Kjetil Jansrud - https://www.aftenposten.no/norge/i/kRLMQ/Jansrud-ogsa-med-Head-ski
  15. ^ skiracing.com - May–2010
  16. ^ "PINTURAULT Alexis - Athlete Information".
  17. ^ "Cyprien Richard rejoint Head" [Cyprien Richard joins Head]. Le Dauphiné libéré (in French). 8 June 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  18. ^ Aksel Lund Svindal - http://msn.tv2sporten.no/ovrig/lund-svindal-bytter-skimerke-faar-gullkantet-avtale-3182196.html Archived 2010-04-16 at the Wayback Machine