Brine Exits Men’s Lacrosse as Owner New Balance Pivots to Female Market

Emily Caron
·3 min read

Sports equipment brand Brine will no longer manufacture men’s lacrosse gear, exiting the men’s market and rebranding itself exclusively as a women’s equipment manufacturer on International Women’s Day. The almost 100-year-old Massachusetts-based heritage brand, which once produced popular equipment for men’s and women’s lacrosse, soccer and field hockey, said the decision was due to growth in the women’s game and an internal streamlining between Brine and its sister company Warrior, both New Balance subsidiaries.

New Balance owner Jim Davis was an early investor in the now-defunct Major League Lacrosse and a longtime supporter of the sport. The 2007 Warrior acquisition of Brine was done in part to bring a women’s product line into the New Balance fold, Warrior Sports’ CEO Cindy Abbott said.

After several years of intersection with Warrior, Brine started quietly pulling back on production of its men’s products in 2017, as the company looked to transition from having dual brands in the men’s business. The slow detangling of overlapping product lines now culminates with Brine’s formal exit from the space entirely.

Abbott said the decision to dedicate Brine to women’s lacrosse made sense from both a “business and strategic perspective.”

“Over the last several years, we’ve begun to focus Brine specifically on the women’s game,” Abbott said in a phone interview. “The idea for the final stage of this transition [started] during the early days of the pandemic as an opportunity to reinvent ourselves before a return to the field and to play. Warrior will be our brand for men, and now Brine will be a brand for women. [We’re] differentiating ourselves in the market where most brands are playing in this space for both.”

Participation in women’s lacrosse has grown 200% over the last decade, with youth participation topping 165,000 athletes. To reflect the rebranding, Brine has completely remodeled its messaging—even the company’s logo will get an overhaul, the men’s “king head” that once embodied the brand now retired and replaced by the traditional Brine triad.

Using player ambassadors like four-time All-American turned pro Kylie Ohlmiller and Team USA athlete Marie McCool, Brine says its new direction emphasizes female empowerment—a focus aligned with industry trends. Women’s sports broadly have become increasingly visible, with leagues like the NWSL and WNBA finding substantial traction in 2020, and women’s sports-focused media startups like Alex Morgan and Sue Bird’s Togethxr and Just Women’s Sports are entering the market in response.

“We intend to continue to bring innovation to the lacrosse industry and will continue to work closely with our athletes to develop new equipment that celebrates the women’s game,” Abbott said. “Meanwhile, we’ll continue to focus on surrounding these women with a community and a platform, which will allow them to be seen and heard.”

Brine was the official equipment supplier of the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League during its two-season lifespan. The league folded last fall in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, putting its weight behind Athletes Unlimited as it went. Athletes Unlimited, a network of professional women’s sports leagues, will pick up the mantle for the sport when it debuts its inaugural lacrosse season this summer. Brine said the company plans to work with Athletes Unlimited as it did with the WPLL, this time as an exclusively female-focused brand.

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