Wilson Sporting Goods Co. is bolstering its brick-and-mortar presence. On Thursday in New York, the brand launched a pop-up museum and store. The move celebrates Wilson’s historic role when it comes to New York tennis as its the official ball and racket stringer of the US Open.
Inside the shop, located in New York’s SoHo neighborhood, consumers can experience the museum, titled, “Love All: A Wilson Tennis Experience,” which features Wilson’s milestones in tennis. It highlights athletes such as Billie Jean King, who was on hand to help launch the exhibit on Thursday, and her fight for Equal Rights, as well as Serena Williams and Roger Federer.
“We created this experience as an opportunity, specifically around the time of the US Open, to share how tennis is breaking down [its exclusionary] stereotypes, how we are participating in that — whether it be through the story of the first interracial tennis match to Billie Jean’s personal endeavors. When you think about tennis, it was the first sport that had equal pay between males and females,” Wilson sportswear president Gordon Devin told FN.
It also highlights Wilson’s upcoming collaboration with Kith, which includes the Kith x Wilson Pro Staff 97 tennis racket.
“With collabs, there must be a reason why. And the outcome of that purpose must be to create something that would not otherwise exist if these two companies did not come together to create it,” Devin said on the collab. “Kith’s Ronnie Fieg is a guy that has a vision to just improve the world and great collaborations have to start with a shared vision and purpose.”
In addition, the pop-up serves a Wilson retail location, offering tennis-inspired apparel collection for men and women, along with a curated assortment of footwear, balls, accessories and tennis rackets.
This is part of the company’s expansion program. While the heritage brand is known for its sporting equipment across football, basketball, baseball, tennis and golf, growing categories such as athleticwear and shoes are top of mind.
“When it comes to footwear and soft goods in general we are tiny in comparison to the major players and it is our major focus moving forward,” said Devin. “That is the transformation that you will see Wilson taking. You will see us go from the brand that everybody uses to the brand that you wear as well.”
Wilson’s New York debut comes a month after it opened its first-ever retail location, a “Wilson Heritage Store,” in Chicago in July. According to the company, more flagship store openings are down the pike for New York, Los Angeles, Beijing and Shanghai in coming months.