After years of merely floating along on inertia, Steele’s is firing up its engines and is launching retooled lines of its balls and girls softball bats for the 2003 softball season.
Steele’s was purchased by Reda, which has a core competency in team sports, in early ’01 after it recognized the potential in Steele’s equity and under-leveraged brand name. The ’02 line was introduced after the purchase, but the ’03 line is where Steele’s expects to make an impact.
In addition to the grassroots marketing and sponsorships that are the company’s long-time staple, the ’03 Steele’s line will be supported with POP and graphics marketing plans that “are still in the works,” according to Reda president and GM Craig Scott.
“Our objective is to reach the core consumer through a series of local sponsorships and to get people curios about Steele’s,” says Scott. “We’re convinced that once [core consumers] see these products, they’ll be hooked.”
For ’03, Steele’s will roll out a new line of softballs, upgrades on its existing bats (including the innovative Ax Handle bats), and a line of accessories.
The Skyhawk line of balls feature an upgraded cover in both genuine and synthetic leather, as well as improved glue quality used to adhere the cover to the polyurethane core. The balls are not only designed for durability, but to give players better feel and grip. The balls are available in 11-inch and 12-inch models and in a variety of stitch colors including white, red (ASA), gold (ASA and USSA), black (NSA), blue (USSA), and green (ISA). Optic yellow balls are available in ASA and NSA models in 11-inch and 12-inch sizes. A women’s fastpitch bail with raised seems is also available in optic yellow.
Four re-tooled bats will also be rolled out for ’03. For serious slow-pitch players, Steele’s has the Triple XXX, the Triple XXX Ax Handle, and the Shark. For women’s fast-pitch, Steele’s is introducing the Ball Blaster. Both Triple XXX bats are designed with extra-long handles for less bulk and wind resistance, resulting in quicker bat speed. The Shark is one of the industry’s most durable single-wall bats and its barrel-to-handle width ratio also makes it one of the most balanced. The Ball Blaster is a bottled bat with an extra-large sweet spot for women’s fast-pitch players seeking high performance.