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Friday, Dec 8, 2023

Brands Cement Baseball Tie-up

Rawlings, Easton equipment to star at D-Bat training centers.

Baseball equipment companies Rawlings and Easton have entered a multi-year agreement with D-Bat, a Texas-based baseball and softball training-academy franchise.

Rawlings and Thousand Oaks-based Easton will occupy and manage prime retail space in each of D-Bat’s facilities and provide an exclusive assortment of stock and custom products. The agreement also involves Rawlings and Easton products being exclusively used at D-Bat camps and instructional lessons. 

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

D-Bat has more than 130 training locations around the country, with 20 more on the way. Two locations are in California — one in Temecula and the other in Bakersfield. D-Bat began franchising its operations in 2008 and now has the largest network of baseball training facilities in the country with staff numbering more than 1,500.

“D-Bat Powered by Rawlings and Easton” co-branded retail spaces first rolled out in November 2020 in select Texas and Florida locations, followed by an additional 50 locations in various states throughout 2021. Another 50 are planned for 2022. 

“Today is an important day for both the Rawlings and Easton brands as we join forces with another powerhouse name in the industry to grow the game and reach more athletes,” Mike Zlaket, chief executive for Rawlings and Easton, said in a statement. “We certainly have taken notice of D-Bat’s rapid growth and innovative teaching and coaching methods, and feel this partnership exemplifies our shared vision for success.”

According to a statement, Rawlings and Easton work with the members of several D-Bat locations to test and demo new products that are in development. “Having used Rawlings and Easton equipment throughout my entire playing career, I fully appreciate the quality and legacy that is synonymous with their brands,” Kyle Griffis, co-founder of D-Bat, said in a statement. “Their involvement in this venture further authenticates our mission to provide top-tier instruction to players at all levels.”

Rawlings and Easton have been intertwined since 2020, when Rawlings entered an agreement to acquire Easton Diamond Sports. The acquisition, which has not yet closed, has been touted as a portfolio and talent diversifier for Rawlings. 

The company added in a statement that the combined organization will be positioned to further invest in research and development, product innovation and offer a one-stop shopping experience for customers. In March 2021, Rawlings, a portfolio company of Seidler Equity Partners, received a $100 million senior secured revolving line of credit that was used to back the acquisition of Easton.

Antonio Pequeño IV
Antonio Pequeño IV
Antonio “Tony” Pequeño IV is a reporter covering health care, finance and law for the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. He specializes in reporting on some of the biggest names in the Valley’s biotechnology sector. In addition to his work with the Business Journal, Tony has reported with BuzzFeed News on the unsupervised use of Clearview AI, a controversial facial recognition technology. Tony, who also conducts freelance reporting, graduated from the USC’s Master of Science in Journalism program in 2021. He is in his fifth year as a journalist as of 2021.

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