We have all heard of Bauer. It is easily the best-known hockey equipment brand on the market, selling top rated hockey skates around the world. But, how did that come to happen?
Bauer’s success did not come suddenly, but instead seems to have come from a series of well-calculated investment moves throughout recent years. This is how it happened.
The Company’s Beginning
Bauer might be a hockey giant now, but that was not always the case. The company was a family business when it was started in 1927 in Kitchener, Ontario. At the time, Bauer was the only hockey company that produced skates where the blade was permanently screwed into the boot. This creation was initially what put the company on the map of hockey gear.
The Bauer name was pushed further when hockey pro Bobby Bauer married into the Bauer family. The two Bauers were not related, so Bobby marrying into the Bauer hockey family, brought the name of Bauer Hockey to more hockey fans. Another celebrity endorsement came in the 1960s from Bobby Hull. Adding in pro players to promote the Bauer products made the company more popular among lower-level players who drive to play just as well as their heroes.
In the 1970s, Bauer introduced its now-famous Tuuk blade. This blade system is still used in modern skates, but was first promoted by Jim Roberts.
In the mid-1990s, Nike thought that it wanted to dabble with the skating sports. It bought Bauer as a subsidiary, hoping to create a new line of inline skates. Nike might be a superstar company in the world of sports, but they did not have a handle on the world of hockey.
Nike rebranded Bauer in 2006 to be called Nike Bauer, but that was only for two years. In 2008, Nike sold Bauer to investors who take on troubled companies. It was the first time that Nike put another brand’s name with their own.
Since their parting with Nike in 2008, Bauer reinvented itself with the guidance of the investors that acquired it. The company’s newest strategy was less about technology, but more about acquisition. Bauer has been aggressively acquiring smaller hockey brands in an attempt to further increase the reach and the success of the brand.
The reason for this shift is that the investors were more interested in investing in the growth of the company rather than focusing on repeating what the brand is already y doing. They are not all hockey brands that they are acquiring either. The company bought an undershirt company called Jock Plus that is known for its Kevlar armour shirts. It further expanded into the lacrosse market, buying Maverik Lacrosse. Now, Bauer is taking the knowledge from those brands and working on building more unique hockey equipment that can be enjoyed by players of all levels.
To put it all simply, Bauer has made a name for itself in several ways. The first, and most long-lasting, is the company’s desire for innovation. They started with blades that were attached to boots and have progressed all of the way to the most modern hockey technology out on the market.
The second factor was celebrity endorsements. Having professional hockey players vouch for your product and use it during games speaks volumes about the quality that you are producing.
Finally, Bauer has remained at the top of the hockey world, because it has been around for so long. The company was founded in the early twentieth century and has continued to grow and modernize throughout the years. They have been flexible enough to meet the new needs of players and are still changing what they offer all of the time. Take their new fit system as an example. To prevent wide feet players from having to buy skates that do not perform at their level in order to match their foot size, Bauer completely redid their fit system, allowing more choices for skaters who have wide feet.
As Bauer continues to take in the latest technology, the company will always remain at the front of player’s needs, indicating that they will always be a popular brand.