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The tennis rennaissance, Arby's vodka, and buying a used Rimowa

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The Open-Air Sport Rennaissance

Throughout the pandemic, we witnessed a sudden open-air sporting renaissance.

The courts were booked.

The lads were neck-deep in Racquet magazine.

The Sporty & Rich country club aesthetic hit a fever pitch.

We thought for a moment: are we in tennis’s golden era?

The answer, now, is a resounding yes.

But it wasn’t initially. At first, it was half-baked collabs and merchandise, brands mimicking 80s and collegiate vibes, sprinkled with a few nice shirts and hats here and there.

While a new wave of independent running brands built their value proposition on performance, community, and mindfulness, the tennis brands tried to leverage American Prep but never went any further.

Like every niche filled with enthusiasts and disposable income, there’s an opportunity to dive deeper, and here are some emerging tennis brands that are doing just that.

Tennis, anyone?

Location as a Brand Identity

The Courts are situated in Borrego Springs and it’s an accessible way for people to feel like country club folk without paying for it. At $20 for a day pass and a quick jaunt from LA or Palm Springs, this model is part of a new generation of clever brands building their identity around a physical location.

Bonus: factories for tennis apparel

  • All-around rackets and gear here

  • This Bonjour bag as a base product here

  • Sporting bag options here

  • Neoprene Pickleball bags here

Lambo doors and dinosaurs

Speaking of physical locations, the Rally Museum at 446 Broadway in Soho, NYC, is perhaps one of the best manifestations and use of physical space.

Rally, the platform that allows investors to buy & sell equity shares in collectible assets, recently reopened their studio where you can explore their most iconic collectibles in person, and they nailed the execution.

I get it. Not everyone can pull out the Warhol painting and make that the centerpiece of their store. But it’s more about acknowledging unique ways that one can use physical space.

Vodka infused with… curly fries

When a product drop is so off the nose that it just makes sense.

Not really sure what to do about Arby’s making curly fry vodka, but it certainly creates the kind of shock value that drives consumers to the collab itself.

And that’s just what some products are: shock value. It’s a good reminder to understand that different products or collaborations offer different responses, not just “sales,” and how that’s a good thing.

Imperfection is the narrative

Something we’re enjoying right now is the way brands are repurposing older products for sale. And to be clear, this doesn’t work for every brand or product, but boy, does it work for some.

Who wouldn’t want a dinged-up Rimowa with a roster of well-traveled stickers on it?

HYPER DROPS: The Running Report

Last week we launched educational trend reports where we dive deep into a consumer topic, category, brand, or product and give you the full landscape of its inner workings.

Seize the opportunity in this new era of sports

Learn the strategies, concepts, and tactics that have helped a new generation of running brands explode.

In this report, you'll find the trends, product strategies, and operational connections successful entrepreneurs and creators use to find their place in the new athletics economy.