August 4, 2006 Founded by Boston Red Stockings pitcher A.G. Spalding in 1876, the globally recognised Spalding brand name continues to grow in stature thanks to constant innovation. One that slipped our attention recently was the introduction of the NEVERFLAT basketball. Though Spalding created the first official basketball in 1894 and basketballs evolved from soccer balls which have been in existence for nearly a century prior, we’ve never had an inflatable sports ball that retains its pressure for one whole year before. The Spalding NEVERFLAT Basketball introduces several new pressure retention technologies and is guaranteed to stay fully inflated for a least one year … 10 times longer than traditional basketballs! The NEVERFLAT ensures you have consistent rebound height for at least one year and given the amount of time we spend maintaining sports balls, that’s a whole lot more fun time for everyone and a killer product differentiator. Now what we need to do, given the importance of tyre pressures in the global automotive fleet, is find a similar solution for car tyres.
Spalding's NEVERFLAT basketball utilizes patent pending, exclusive full-ball construction technologies, a first within the inflated sports category, to dramatically increase pressure retention.
Firstly, there’s no seepage: a new membrane and NitroFlate air technology virtually eliminates air's ability to escape. This new membrane technology tightens the natural pores in the ball’s bladder to improve pressure retention. In addition, proprietary NitroFlate molecules are injected into the ball, forming a protective barrier against air seepage.
Secondly, there’s no leakage: a redesigned valve with cap eliminates leaks and keeps dirt out.
Spalding's INFUSION product innovation, which is now in its third generation after being introduced in 2001, addresses a contrasting inflation issue – customization and consistency. With INFUSION, consumers can adapt the air pressure to their preferred specifications. With NEVERFLAT, the proprietary pressure retention technology provides a guaranteed consistency.
"Our research shows there’s a market for both products but clearly NEVERFLAT is the model of consistency showcasing no change in air pressure whereas INFUSION provides consumers the ability to customize to their comfort level," stated Dan Touhey, vice president of marketing, Spalding.
According to Spalding, the introduction of INFUSION led to a more than 50 percent increase in basketball sales in the first year while growing the sporting goods category by 12 percent. While Spalding would not disclose sales projections for NEVERFLAT, officials believe the uniqueness and durability of the product as well as consumer benefits will ultimately drive sales similar to INFUSION.