Arena's fully-fledged re-entry into American market
Operating under the umbrella of Gathering Storm holding company, Arena Swim USA has held the exclusive distribution, sales, marketing and merchandising rights for Arena products since its entry into the US market some 16 months ago. Such has been the success of the campaign to grow Arena's presence in the world's largest swimming market under the leadership of Tim McCool, that the Group's CEO Cristiano Portas decided to accelerate the process by re-establishing the business unit, with McCool at the reins as Vice President.
The commercial and sales teams that participated in the re-launch campaign, along with the entire sales force of Arena Swim USA, have already been transferred to the new business unit.
While the new Arena business unit signals its direct re-entry into the American market in a formal way, the company already has strong existing ties to swimming in the US through its sponsorship agreements with numerous world-ranked swimmers, universities, and coaching associations. Today these include world champions and record holders Rebecca Soni, Eric Shanteau and Aaron Peirsol (recently retired), the recently-crowned NCAA Men's swimming champions University of California Berkeley, the men's and women's teams of Auburn University and SwimAmerica Program run through the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA).
These ties go back almost four decades, when Arena was founded by Horst Dassler in 1973. He started the beginnings of the Arena Elite team, in which the world's top swimmers collaborated with the Arena Research and Development team to create the world's most technologically advanced swimsuits of the time. And it was a fruitful relationship – at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, members of the Arena Elite Team won 44 medals, and over 50% of the men's finals contestants wore Arena suits in their events.
Subsequent members of the Arena Elite Team included numerous American world record holders, world champions, and Olympians. In addition, Arena was the official technical sponsor to the American national swimming team in 1977, and the official sponsor to the Canadian national swimming team at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
“We are very excited to re-establish a fully-fledged, direct presence in the United States,” said Arena CEO, Cristiano Portas. “Our success with Arena Swim USA has encouraged us to accelerate the process of growing the Arena brand further in the USA as the 2012 London Olympics draws nearer. This is a natural move for Arena since our American 'roots' in fact date back to the company's founding in 1973, and we have been consistently been involved in American swimming through champions such as Matt Biondi and NCAA titleholders University of California Berkeley.
“It is therefore fitting that we acknowledge the debt we owe American swimming by empowering Arena North America to be even more effective and efficient in running our US business. We look forward to a future of promise in the world's largest swimming market, with a firm belief that all those involved in swimming at all levels in the USA will be able to benefit from our long-standing focus on quality, technological superiority, and commitment to continuous improvement and innovation.”