Wilson Takes Over College World Series With Seven Sponsored Teams


The Wilson pop-up store in Omaha won’t be the only place for Men’s College World Series fans to see products offered by the Wilson baseball family of brands. There will be plenty
of time for that on Charles Schwab Field, as seven of the eight teams in the event rolled into
Nebraska backed by Wilson.

The unprecedented domination of Wilson teams has the company both busy and thrilled.

“Our customers are baseball people, but we are baseball people,” Jim Hackett, Wilson
Baseball/Softball general manager, told Baseball America. “It is exciting for us. There is no
better place for a baseball person to be than Omaha, Nebraska. It is not even close, in my
opinion. For seven universities to be here and representing our brands is awesome. This is not

The Wilson portfolio has all seven schools using Wilson ball gloves and EvoShield protective
. Tour schools—Tennessee, Florida State, North Carolina and North Carolina State—are
swinging Louisville Slugger bats and three schools—Florida, Texas A&M and Virginia—are
opting for DeMarini bats.

“We are so fired up about this,” Hackett said.

Across both softball and baseball, Wilson sponsors hundreds of schools at some
level, but having seven in the final eight represents a special time and really helps the visibility
of the brand.

“The people who are watching tend to be very serious baseball people,” Hackett said. “You have
the alums of the schools and sports fans in general, but the baseball-playing people of America
pay attention to Omaha. It is really a boost of adrenaline for our entire team to work on all these

Across the four distinct brands within the Wilson portfolio, Hackett said each comes with its
own individual research and development team “passionately committed to making the
very best stuff for the very best players.”

That can’t happen without the partnerships with the schools.

“The insights that a player has who is competing at the highest level are very valuable to us and
we can’t get that any other way,” Hackett said about partnering with universities. “Our people
work with these players on their campuses and on fields around the country, constantly ensuring the product fits, feels and performs to help them compete, to help them win. That is something we care deeply about.”

In the partnerships, which outfit teams in Wilson product, the brand also gets insight from
players and those relationships to build feedback as the game evolves.

“None of this works if we are not getting their insight,” Hackett said.

The push for schools to partner with Wilson comes from the players. Hackett gave an example of Virginia coach Brian O’Connor hearing from recruits that they wanted to swing DeMarini, prompting him to swith to DeMarini, Wilson and EvoShield.

“When a player walks in on a recruiting visit, to see all Wilson, EvoShield and either DeMarini or Louisville Slugger, it is all driven by the players,” Hackett said. “If the players didn’t like our products, it wouldn’t matter how well we service the team or what free product we give the team. Players have an opinion and that drives the coaches to want to be with our brands.”

When it comes to on-field product, Hackett said college players really do represent a balanced
mix of preferences, with players having their own specific desires when choosing a glove or a
bat. While the infielders generally opt for the 1786 or 1787, the variety in the other Wilson
gloves doesn’t have one model stand out at the other positions.

While the balanced one-piece aluminum options like the Louisville Slugger Atlas and
DeMarini Voodoo One are the top two bats in the country, college teams offer a mix of swing styles and use cases. This had lead to the Slugger lineup of the Atlas, Select PWR and Omaha and the DeMarini The Goods, Voodoo One and CF all getting their fair share of play.

“Players are getting more and more in tune with what bat would be right for their game,” Hackett said.

The elbow guard represents the most popular EvoShield product, followed by protection for the
foot, ankle and shin. The fastest-rising piece of equipment is the sliding mitt.

“EvoShield is about keeping players on the field,” Hackett said. “That is the entire mission, to protect them. The most likely place a player is going to get dinged and have to come off the field or play in an injured state is at the elbow for a batter.”

The excitement on the field for the seven schools translates to even more excitement off it at
Wilson’s Omaha store, which offers special-edition products tied to fans’ teams. With
seven schools represented at the Men’s College World Series, fans have plenty of Wilson options to explore.

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