Musical instrument maker Pierre Babola Pierre's grandson, Eric Babola, who has run the brand since 1998, says the world's oldest tennis brand is still thriving after 147 years.
As the pandemic pushes the sport back to 2020, tennis' growth shows no sign of slowing down for the French string, racquet, footwear and apparel maker. “This is really new,” said Eric Babolat. “It was very smooth for us, for the market (pre-pandemic) and the unexpected growth.” Covid has made many people realize how important sport is and people want to have fun, train and play together. Squash seems like a good solution. Boom".
After 10 years as the world's leading racquet manufacturer, Babolat is still at the forefront of the professional tennis market. Babolat's main market is America, followed by Japan, which is constantly growing. “Japan loves this game,” says Eric Babolat. "do you like."
Erik Babolat believes grassroots sports are a powerful way to bring tennis to the next generation. The traditional popularity of tennis, with non-tennis brands promoting tennis through clothing collections or advertising campaigns, has only helped tennis-focused brands.
“It will come back at some point,” Eric Babolat says of the boom. So far, "the need is still there."
At a time when the sport is popular, Babolat is taking the opportunity to connect with a younger audience. The summer edition of the new Pure Aero racket features three young stars: Carlos Alcaraz, Félix Auger-Aliassime and Layla Fernandez as the faces of the franchise. “We're targeting a younger audience,” said Eric Babolat. "We love (Rafael) Nadal, but the next generation of the sport is Auger Aliassime and Alcaraz, this generation." This is their generation."
Alcaraz gave Babolat a big win by taking the 2022 US Open to September with a redesigned frame.
Brian Ogle, Babolat's National Sales Director for the US, said the brand is focused on connecting with professional players and tennis enthusiasts. “Who we are is in our blood,” he says. Instead of targeting the mainstream racquet market, Babolat has focused on a niche by choosing high-end tennis frames. “We live in the area,” says Ogle. “A tennis lover will visit an independent tennis store or a wealthy online store. We talk about where tennis fans go, where they play and where they live, and we are a brand in their ecosystem. We live every day."
“We care about people who love sports,” said Eric Babolat. While Babolat focuses on high-end racquets for professional touring use, Babolat creates frames that cut price and technology to introduce people so they can find something "the right one".
Ogle says the newly released Pure Aero highlights the Pure Aero at the top of the pyramid and then comes with a two-stage built-in frame designed for the ultimate gaming experience for players of all skill levels. “If this is your first time picking up and rocking the Pure Aero 98, it might not be the best experience,” he says. "But with Boost Aero, you can say, 'Hey, I love this, I'm going to crash a little,' and it's a great experience." Babolat sells several of these frames for $109.
As Babolat continued to upgrade their high end racquets, they became more differentiated in playing styles. Known as the brand's line of spins, Pure Aero now offers custom frames for different styles of spin players that Eric Babol says meet the unique requirements of different spin players and generational changers.
“I think a one-size-fits-all approach for players of this level would be completely wrong,” Ogle said of the expansion of the Pure Aero lineup.
The emphasis on hoops doesn't stray too far from Babolat strings, as the company is quick to point out that 50% of a racquet's performance comes from strings. In 1875, Babolat invented the natural gut tennis string. During World War II, the brand underwent a major change with the addition of nylon and synthetics. Then came electronic cable cars. The evolution led by Eric Babol began in 1994 with the gradual introduction of frames to various markets, the addition of balls in 2000 and shoes in 2002, technology with Michelin and a partnership with American tennis star Andy Roddick, which made the brand recognizable. .
Babolat continues to build on this vision by supplying young players and clubs with racquets designed for elite players. Erik Babolat says he's not interested in competing with the big sports brands by offering the best clothes and shoes for the best players (Babolat has owned Auger-Aliasime since he was 12, but his marketing spend is on the rise). The company signed more lucrative clothing sponsorship deals and Babolat focused on the racquet business, choosing instead to focus on its core equipment and marketing to tennis fans.
Eric Babolat says that as a new generation of tennis fans matures, Babolat is targeting people who love the sport, as Babolat has done since 1875.