New Balance and The Olympic Council of Ireland has unveiled the Team Ireland kit that our sporting stars heading to Rio will be wearing this summer.
The Boston Headquartered brand was keen to put on a show around the launch of the only national kit it is producing for the Olympics and gathered nine of Ireland’s Olympic hopefuls to sport the new gear and meet the media at an event in Dublin’s Smock Alley Theatre.
The kit has been produced by the product development team in Boston and covers all the sports that Ireland will be represented in.
It will include all the kit that will be worn in competition and in warming up, as well as a range of leisure wear that athletes will wear during travel to the games, public appearances before hand and hopefully to medal ceremonies as well as the opening and closing events.
“We are very pleased with how the partnership has developed since New Balance came on board with us in 2013,” said Olympic Council of Ireland CEO Stephen Martin speaking to Sport for Business yesterday.
“It has been great to see how they have used to partnership to deliver great kit for competition, warm up and recovery and to drive on innovation within their own teams.”
“The response from the athletes has been great and hopefully they can perform as well as they look.”
“Athletes have been involved in the design of the kit which has broadened their own understanding of the elements that go into high performance.”
“No decision has been made yet as to whether the kit will be made available to the public through online sales but we hope that will become clearer in the coming weeks.”
We then caught up with John Evans, Global Head of Running Sports Marketing with New Balance.
“Six years ago we made a conscious decision as a leading athletics brand that we needed to be associated with leading athletes and where they were competing. Naturally that took in the Olympic Games.”
“We didn’t want to just jump in and sponsor any country. We wanted a team to partner with that we felt some sort of connection to.”
“Coming from Boston there was a natural lean towards Ireland. There are deep Irish roots in the city and our first manufacturing facility outside the US was established in Ireland back in the 1980’s.”
“We have a long history of association with Irish athletes going back to John Treacy and Marcus O’Sullivan all the way through to the present team with Thomas Barr and Ciara McGeean so it felt right.”
“We made the partnership first with Athletics Ireland and from there the connection to the Olympics team just began to make sense.”
“This is a long term move to build our presence in Ireland as well as globally.”
“There has been a great pick up in terms of how our innovation and development teams have really been inspired by this.”
“We are expanding into a lot of sports now. Football with Liverpool, Tennis, Cricket and Baseball are already in the mix and this has helped us to expand our own range of expertise with regard to specific sports.”
“Producing for such a small collection is expensive but we are willing to make that investment to give the athletes the best shot at performing to their best on the biggest stage.”
“More than fifty per cent of our business is outside the US now and Ireland and the UK are important markets for us as we continue to expand and grow.”
“We will have 50 or 60 individual sponsored athletes competing in Rio and we will be using the opportunity to tell their stories as well as the way that New balance has assisted them.”
Join us tomorrow for a chat with Dan Green of New balance on the technology that has gone into the kit...