Israeli tennis start-up Slinger Bag nets Dunlop partnership

With rave reviews for newly launched personal and portable machine, European and global exposure secured after new deal with No. 1 ball company

SLINGER BAG gives tennis players an affordable easy opportunity to practice anytime, anywhere. (photo credit: SLINGER BAG/COURTESY)
SLINGER BAG gives tennis players an affordable easy opportunity to practice anytime, anywhere.
(photo credit: SLINGER BAG/COURTESY)
Israeli tech company Slinger Bag, a sports brand focused on innovating game improvement equipment for all ball sports with an initial focus on the global tennis market, announced this week an unprecedented multi-year, distribution agreement across nine key markets in Europe with global tennis giant Dunlop. This announcement follows similar global strategic agreements in key tennis markets including Ireland, Japan, UK, Ireland, Switzerland and all four Scandinavian markets, bringing the total value of Slinger Bag’s international distribution partnerships to a cumulative five year retail value of $200 million.
Reviewing the company's origins, Slinger Bag founder Joe Kalfa, an avid tennis player, had an idea that quickly became a core mission for him – that everyone should be able to own a tennis-ball launcher. He loved the concept of tennis-ball launchers, and always used them when he was at the club and they were available. The problem was that they weren’t always available, or easy to use, or even good for that matter.
“The Slinger Bag is a 24/7 playing partner that will enable tennis players, from grassroots to pro tours, to hit more quality balls on court whenever they want and without the need for having to constantly find playing partners,” said Slinger Bag CEO Mike Ballardie, a former Prince CEO and Wilson executive. “It will help grow the game of tennis and increase play occasions.
“All the greatest products provide a solution to a problem – Slinger Bag is no exception. Slinger Bag is the answer to an age-old problem in tennis, enabling players to hit quality balls without the need of a partner, wherever, whenever.”
Dunlop has clearly bought into the concept, literally and figuratively.
Under the terms of the new agreement, Dunlop International Europe Ltd, whose parent company is Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Japan, will be granted exclusive distribution rights for Slinger Bag’s innovative tennis ball launcher in the core European markets of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg Portugal, Netherlands, and Spain.
“There is no bigger endorsement of how far Slinger Bag has come in a short period of time than this new commercial association with Dunlop, a global giant in tennis with an unequalled market reach and a reputation to match,” said Ballardie. “Without a doubt this is a landmark deal for us and a real vindication of our faith in the long term global growth potential of Slinger Bag.”
The strategic alliance will see the two companies working closely together on a daily basis to maximize the potential of Slinger Bag across these key territories, with Dunlop leveraging Slinger Bag growth supporting its comprehensive tennis ball market share, brand presence across European tennis and its recognition as a highly respected tennis brand. Dunlop will integrate a dedicated Slinger Bag team to oversee sales and marketing operations, including affiliate marketing programs, major tennis tournaments and events, local federations and organization partnerships, and in market tennis coaching networks. In addition, Dunlop will adopt Slinger Bag’s preferred direct to consumer go-to-market sales strategy and will establish its own e-commerce platform (to be launched Q1 2021) to complement direct to consumer sales currently made via
Dunlop’s territories represent the largest and most important tennis markets in Europe and include the third and fourth largest tennis markets (Germany and France) globally. In Germany alone, where tennis is one of the most popular sports, over five percent of the population plays tennis with around three million players recognized as avid players playing at least once a week.
Dunlop is investing heavily into supporting its brand with player sponsorships and strategic partnerships, including being the official tennis ball of both the ATP and the Australian Open and is the No. 1 ball brand in Asia, Australasia and Europe.
Slinger Bag – which is publicly traded on the OTC market under the ticker symbol SLBG – is now widely recognized as the hot new product in tennis since launching in the spring of 2020, and continues to receive widespread critical acclaim. The product has surpassed all order forecasts in each market where the product has already been launched, none more important than the world’s largest tennis market, the USA, where orders have reached $2 million over the past three months.
“Slinger Bag is a next generation technology for tennis enthusiasts who want to continue to engage in their passion during the new normal,” noted Slinger Bag CMO Juda Honickman. “Unlike any other product on the market, Slinger Bag is the first true portable tennis ball launcher that can be used anywhere, anytime, serving as one’s tennis partner on a minute’s notice. With tennis in decline, this proprietary design will not only go a long way to encourage participation from existing devotees, but also provides easy access to the sport of tennis for newcomers to the game.”
Slinger Bag enables tennis players to get out on court to play  without the need to find a playing partner – whether that be at their club, local park, on their driveways or in any other available open space. Slinger Bag is lightweight, wheeled like a trolley bag, and easily transported in the trunk of the smallest sedan car. It offers players the versatility to store all of their tennis gear including rackets, shoes, towels and accessories. At the average price of two to three performance tennis rackets, it is highly affordable when compared to comparable performing traditional ball machines.
Frans Swinkels, Dunlop Managing Director commented: “Following the highly successful launch of Slinger Bag in the USA and intensive product testing by our sales and marketing teams, we are delighted to leverage Dunlop’s network across the largest tennis markets in Europe. The partnership further enhances Dunlop’s complete offering in the tennis ball market as a complete equipment supplier.”
Yasutaka Doko, COO, Dunlop International Europe Ltd. commented: “Having seen the successful introduction of Slinger Bag to the Japanese market and further extensive research in our operations, we are very excited to partner with Slinger Bag. They share our drive and passion for innovation, to offer this revolutionary new tennis product to our customers and consumers across our European territories.”
The Slinger Bag is available to order now – to find out more about Slinger Bag, please visit