Fila signs Janzen, U.S. Open winner


January 11, 1996

Fila USA yesterday moved to bolster its line of golfing apparel by announcing that it has signed PGA Tour pro Lee Janzen to a three-year endorsement deal.

The Hunt Valley-based unit of the Italian sportswear company has been among Maryland's fastest-growing businesses since it took over U.S. distribution from a licensee in 1991. But its golf business has been tiny compared with its sales of basketball gear.

"Our golf business is so small right now I don't even want to venture a guess as to what it is," said John Hoover, Fila's director of golf apparel. "We want to do $5 million this year and within a couple of years be a $10 million to $12 million division of Fila apparel."

The company expects more than $800 million in worldwide 1995 sales.

Terms of Mr. Janzen's deal were not disclosed. Mr. Hoover said the company sought an American golfer as its key endorser, but one like the 31-year-old U.S. Open winner who plays international tournaments. That was the key to appeal to golf fans in markets such as Europe, Japan and Korea, the company's biggest market outside the United States.

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