Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Speedo’s New LZR Suit Will Create Waves in the Olympic Pool

By Dow Jones Insight Staff

Thanks to Speedo, space-age technology has entered the Olympic swimming pool. Speedo, the world’s top manufacturer of performance swimwear, is causing waves with its LZR swimsuit. The suit, which was developed with the help of NASA scientists, has become the subject of some controversy in the swimming community. Based on the success of swimmers wearing the suit – 40 of the 44 world records set since the suit was introduced in February were set by swimmers wearing the LZR – swimmers from a number of countries are looking to break endorsement contracts with other swimsuit manufacturers in order to compete in the suit in Beijing. In some cases, entire national teams are seeking to break their team sponsorship agreements with companies like TYR, Adidas and Mizuno.

The controversy has been a media bonanza for Speedo. The company received 372 mentions, or 62%, of the total 597 mentions of the four swimsuit manufacturers in media sources analyzed by Dow Jones Insight during the period June 23-30. TYR was a distant second with 117 mentions, or 20% of the total, followed by Adidas with 81, or 14%, and Mizuno with 27, or 5%.

If swimmers wearing the LZR continue to break records and frequent the medals podium during the Olympics, the attention could provide a significant boost for the Speedo brand and increase its share of the performance swimwear market.

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