|Formerly||J.W. Foster and Sons|
|Predecessor||J.W. Foster and Sons|
|Founded||1895[note 1] in (as J.W. Foster & Sons|
Bolton, Lancashire, England
1958 (as Reebok)
|Founder||Joseph William Foster|
|Matthew O'Toole (CEO)|
|Parent||Authentic Brands Group (2022–present)|
Reebok International Limited (//) is an American fitness footwear and clothing manufacturer that is a part of Authentic Brands Group. It was established in England in 1958 as a companion company to J.W. Foster and Sons, a sporting goods company which had been founded in 1895 in Bolton, Lancashire. From 1958 until 1986, the brand featured the Union Jack flag in its logo to signify the origins of the company. The company was bought by German sporting goods company Adidas in 2005. The company's global headquarters are now located in Boston, Massachusetts, in the Seaport District, with regional offices in Amsterdam, Montreal, Hong Kong, and Mexico City.
In 1895, Joseph William Foster at the age of 14 started work in his bedroom above his father's sweetshop in Bolton, England, and designed some of the earliest spiked running shoes. After his ideas progressed, he founded his business "J.W. Foster" in 1900, later he joined with his sons and changed the company name to J.W. Foster and Sons. Foster opened a small factory called Olympic Works, and gradually became famous among athletes for his "running pumps". For pioneering the use of spikes, the company's revolutionary running pumps appear in the book Golden Kicks: The Shoes that changed Sport. The company began distributing their shoes across the flag of the United Kingdom[clarification needed] which were worn by British athletes. They were made famous by 100m Olympic champion Harold Abrahams in the 1924 Summer Olympics held in Paris.
In 1958, in Bolton, two of the founder's grandsons, Joe and Jeff Foster, formed a companion company "Reebok", having found the name in a dictionary won in a sprint race by Joe Foster as a boy. The name is Afrikaans for the grey rhebok, a type of African antelope.
In 1979, an American businessman named Paul Fireman took notice of Reebok at the Chicago NSGA (National Sporting Goods of America) Show. Fireman negotiated a deal to license and distribute the Reebok brand in the United States. The division became known as 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. 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. Fireman bought the English-based parent company in 1984. In addition to its IPO, the brand established itself in professional tennis with the Newport Classic, popularized by Boris Becker and John Mc Enroe, and the Revenge Plus, better known today under its name Reebok Club C.
Officially an American company 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 it had since its founding, to the vector logo—an abstract Union flag streak across a race track—which mirrored the design of the side flashes of its shoes. The switch signaled the transition of 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 (alongside entering the college/pro sports arena), along with a line of children's athletic shoes called Weeboks. By mid-decade, Reebok's sales were about $1 billion. One of the company's most iconic technologies, the Reebok Pump, debuted in 1989 with more than 100 professional athletes wearing the footwear by 1992, including Shaquille O'Neal.
Reebok worked with fitness professional Gin Miller in the late 1980s to develop Step Reebok, based on Miller's wooden prototype step and her ideas for step aerobics. The Step was evaluated in physiology trials undertaken by Drs. Lorna and Peter Francis at San Diego State University. In August 1989 the Step was ready, made in molded plastic by Sports Step of Atlanta with Reebok's name on it, and by March 1990, the step aerobics classes were attracting media attention. Miller promoted Step Reebok in person, touring the U.S. and demonstrating it at exercise studios. Step aerobics became widely popular, helping the company sell many thousands of adjustable-height step devices and millions of high-top shoes with ankle support. Step aerobics peaked in 1995 with 11.4 million people exercising in that style.
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 signed Venus Williams after she won singles titles at Wimbledon and the 2000 Summer Olympics. In December 2000, Reebok signed a 10-year licensing agreement with the NFL for the exclusive rights to manufacture and sell NFL licensed merchandise, including uniforms and footwear, for all 32 teams.
In 2001, Reebok became the exclusive apparel outfitter for the 29 teams in the NBA, and 16 WNBA teams for ten years beginning in the 2004–2005 season. The deal also added the Reebok vector logo to the 2004 U.S. Olympic basketball team's uniforms. Also in 2001, Reebok hired the Arnell Group with Peter Arnell as their lead marketing agency. They created the "Outperform" campaign, the Yao Ming line, the Rbk brand and the famous Terry Tate Super Bowl commercial, among other programs. Later in 2001, Jay Margolis was named as Reebok's president and COO. After launching retail flagship stores in China, Dhaka, London, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and Tokyo, Margolis resigned in October 2004. Fireman took over as president after signing a new long-term employment agreement with the Reebok board of directors.
In 2003, Reebok also became the official uniform and apparel provider for the Canadian Football League, which took effect in 2004.
Reebok acquired official National Hockey League sponsor CCM in 2004. The company began manufacturing ice hockey equipment under the CCM and Reebok brands. Reebok phased out the CCM name on NHL authentic and replica jerseys, using the Reebok logo since 2005. CCM became Reebok-CCM Hockey in 2007. Reebok moved most of its hockey equipment lines to CCM after 2015. In 2017, Adidas sold CCM to a Canadian private equity firm, Birch Hill Equity Partners, for around $100 million.
Following an intellectual property lawsuit in August 2005, Adidas acquired Reebok as a subsidiary, uniting two of the largest sport outfitting companies, but maintaining operations under their separate brand names. Adidas acquired all of the outstanding Reebok shares and completed the deal valued at $3.8 billion. Following the acquisition, Adidas replaced Reebok as the official uniform supplier for the NBA in 2006 with an 11-year deal that includes the WNBA, replica jerseys, and warm-up gear.
Reebok named Paul Harrington president and CEO of the company in January 2006, replacing Paul Fireman who was acting president since 2004. Harrington joined the company in 1994 and was Reebok's senior vice president of global operations and chief supply chain officer.
In 2010, Reebok announced a partnership with CrossFit, a fitness company and competitive fitness sport, including sponsoring the CrossFit Games, opening CrossFit studios, and introducing a line of co-branded footwear and apparel for Fall 2011. In 2011, Reebok debuted the CrossFit delta symbol on the brand's fitness apparel line. Around that time, Reebok, as it lost contracts to make sportswear for professional and college teams, (its last uniform rights contract, with the NHL, ended in 2017) began repositioning itself as a fitness-oriented brand, just as it had been during the 1980s and early 1990s.
In 2013, Reebok announced another fitness partnership with Les Mills International. The agreement included Reebok footwear and clothing integration into Les Mills' fitness programs and media marketing. By July 2013, the red delta sign began appearing on Reebok's fitness collections. The brand announced it was phasing out the vector logo and replacing it with the delta sign, the company's second logo change in more than 120 years. The delta symbol is meant to symbolize three pillars of positive self-change—mental, physical and social—as Reebok increases its presence in the fitness industry with yoga, dance, aerobics and CrossFit.
Following a successful re-release of many of its iconic sneaker and apparel lines from the early/mid 1990s, in November 2019, Reebok announced that it was updating the 1992 vector logo along with the original "Reebok" script in Motter Tektura typeface and restoring both as the company's core brand identity, citing that consumers still identified with them rather than the red delta logo, although the delta would continue to be used on some fitness lines.
After some financial struggles, Adidas announced in February 2021 its plans to divest the Reebok brand as the German sportswear maker moves on after trying to revive its performance for more than a decade, after analyzing options for the brand and expects a hit of about 250 million euros to operating profit from costs to make its struggling Reebok brand a standalone company as it prepares to sell or spin-off the business, with a third of that in 2022 but none in 2023.
In July 2021, Adidas shortlisted bidders for the brand, the finalist companies being Wolverine World Wide and Authentic Brands Group on a joint deal, private equity companies Advent International, CVC, Cerberus Capital, and Sycamore Partners, with a deadline for August 2021. On August 12, 2021, it was announced that Authentic Brands Group would be acquiring the Reebok brand from Adidas for at least $2.5 billion, in a deal expected to close in the first quarter of 2022. On March 1, 2022 Authentic Brands Group announced it has finalized the acquisition of Reebok.
Reebok's former parent company, Adidas, is headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Bavaria, Germany, while the Reebok world headquarters remains located in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A. Reebok EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) has its regional office in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The company also has additional regional offices located in Panama City (Reebok Latin America), Shanghai (Reebok Shanghai International Commerce Centre), Singapore, Taikoo Shing, and Toronto. Reebok first entered the South Korean market in 1987 and has since been making substantial revenue in South Korea. It is shown that it is the third most popular sports brand in South Korea. Through the merger and acquisition of the brand by Adidas in 2005, Reebok is no longer listed as a company in South Korea.
Reebok designs, manufactures, distributes and sells fitness, running and CrossFit sportswear including clothing and footwear. 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 1996 and ending with Answer XIV.
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 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.
Reebok Future innovation house has developed a new technology they call Liquid Factory. A robot will extrude liquid polyurethane and "draw" shoe components without the use of traditional shoe molds.
In 2017, the UFC announced the launch of a new collection under the name Fight Night Collection that includes an upgraded version of the Reebok-branded apparels.
In 2018, Victoria Beckham being a long-term design partner with Reebok launched her first collection inspired by Shaquille O'Neal.
Reebok sponsored kits for top seeded Indian Football clubs, Mohun Bagan AC (2006–11) and East Bengal FC (2003–05, 2006–10). Later it 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 managerial 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 thirty first 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.
The company maintained its relationship with its origins in the UK through a long-term sponsorship deal with Bolton Wanderers, a League One football club, however, in 2009, Bolton changed their sponsorship to 188bet. When the team moved to a brand new ground in the late-1990s, their new home was named the Reebok Stadium.
Several other English clubs, such as Liverpool F.C., 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 April 2014, Bolton Wanderers officially announced the Reebok Stadium would be officially rebranded in a new sponsorship deal with sportswear manufacturer Macron, 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 Germany, Reebok sponsored football club 1. FC Köln.
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, Arsenal and France national team striker Thierry Henry signed a deal to join the "I Am What I Am" campaign on August 1, 2006. Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs has also done "I Am What I Am" commercials. Andriy Shevchenko started his endorsement deal with the company in 2006.
In February 2019, the Russian Instagram version of a global Reebok advertising campaign to promote female empowerment under the hashtag #BeMoreHuman featured the slogan "Sit not on the needle of men’s approval – sit on men’s face." After facing outrage on social media, Reebok removed the slogan and their Russian marketing director resigned.
On March 21, 2022, Reebok suspended all branded stores and e-commerce operations in Russia after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
In 2004, Reebok entered into a deal that allows them the rights to manufacture Canadian Football League (CFL) onfield jerseys, sideline gear and footwear; this deal ended in 2015.
In Mexico, Reebok was kit provider of Chivas de Guadalajara before the team was taken over by parent company Adidas in 2011.
Reebok shoes were featured as product placement advertising on the Nickelodeon game show Double Dare in the 1980s.
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.
Reebok signed a four-year deal to become the official shoe supplier to Major League Baseball (MLB) in 2004; Reebok also was given the rights to be the official uniform and apparel provider of the Canadian Football League (CFL) that same year; this alliance lasted until 2015.
Reebok held the rights to produce the on-ice "EDGE" Uniform System, performance clothing and training footwear of the National Hockey League (NHL) in a 10-year agreement from 2007 to 2017.
On December 2, 2014, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) announced a six-year deal with Reebok, which began in July 2015.
In July 2018, Reebok Boston Track Club announced to be led by coach Chris Fox from Syracuse University.
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, 2002, 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. Pop singer Ariana Grande signed to Reebok in 2017. In the 2016 Gigi Hadid joined the company. Reebok also produce shoes for Emporio Armani under the label EA7.
Artists and fashion figures that have signed endorsement agreements with Reebok over the years include Ariana Grande, Gal Gadot, Victoria Beckham, Cardi B, and Camille Kostek.
In January 2021, Reebok released a collection of shoes based on the DreamWorks Animation franchise Kung Fu Panda.
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 was the uniform provider for Brazilian clubs Cruzeiro, Vasco, Internacional and São Paulo FC, Argentinian clubs San Martín de Los Andes, Paraguayan clubs General Díaz and Uruguayan clubs Peñarol.
The Reebok Foundation operates the "Build Our Kids' Success" (BOKS) program to provide US schoolchildren with physical activities before the school day. Reebok funds the program with direct grants and by contributing a percentage of shoe sales.
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CFL and Reebok have just signed a new five-year contract extending the current deal that was signed in 2004.