- Building on its airless basketball prototype, Wilson Sporting Goods is releasing its first 3D-printed basketball, dubbed the Wilson Airless Gen1 basketball, on Feb. 16, the company announced Wednesday.
- The company is selling a limited number of the airless basketballs, which don’t require air inflation, at a price of $2,500. The basketball is available in brown, white and black colorways and will have the exact production number on it.
- Wilson will also show off the basketball to shoppers Feb. 16 to Feb. 18 at the NBA Crossover event in Indianapolis.
The Airless Gen1 basketball builds upon Wilson’s prototype, and includes performance improvements and a streamlined manufacturing process. The basketball “nearly fits” regulation basketball criteria, including weight, size and bounce, according to the company.
“We were overwhelmed by the excitement from our Airless Prototype, and we knew it was time to bring this rare, first-of-its-kind innovation to the world,” Kevin Murphy, general manager of Team Sports at Wilson, said in a statement. “Wilson has gone where no brand has gone before with the release of the Airless Gen1 basketball, further inspiring the next generation of sports innovation.”
The product launch comes as Wilson’s parent company, Amer Sports, filed for an initial public offering last month and began trading on the New York Stock Exchange last week. The move generated about $1.37 billion, though the company debuted at a lower per-share price point than its $16 to $18 goal. The company intends to use the proceeds to pay down debt, freeing up capital to invest in its brands, which also include Arc’teryx and Salomon.
Wilson’s own growth agenda in recent years has included expanding its brick-and-mortar footprint. In July 2021, the company opened its first store, in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, where shoppers could access seasonal product drops, unique colorways and a broad assortment of sports equipment. It went on to open a pop-up shop in New York City tied to the U.S. Open, a flagship location in SoHo, and other locations in the Mall of America and Santa Monica, California, among others.
The store openings are part of the company's “direct to community” strategy of building relationships with its customers, Gordon Devin, president of Wilson Sportswear, told Retail Dive in a 2022 interview.