KEE Signs Huge Wal-Mart Distribution Deal
by Chris "IQ" Iaquinta
“This is the most important deal to happen to paintball in the last five years. It will provide the opportunity our sport needs to relight the spark that will help introduce a whole new generation of players to paintball, and start a whole new evolution of the game.” – Billy Ceranski, Director of Sales, KEE Action Sports.
PaintBall.com has confirmed in an exclusive phone interview with KEE Action Sports executive Billy Ceranski that the company has signed a substantial distribution deal with mega retail chain Wal-Mart for their JT line of gear, said to be one of the largest in the sports history. While Ceranski was unable to confirm the number of Wal-Mart locations that will be carrying their products, the total insertion is expected to be considerable.
The flagship item to be featured in-store will be a series of “Ready to Play” kits in the form of complete paintball packages. These all-in-one packages will include a marker, loader, pre-filled CO2 cartridge, goggle system and paintballs, and is designed to give players an instant paintball solution that will allow them to head straight to the field and play without the need for additional accessories. Each package will also come with a free rookie pass, a special paintball field entry promotion that KEE developed to urge new players to visit their local fields.
Ceranski attributes the success of the deal to the KEE management team, who has been working diligently on the project for weeks. He also confirmed that a portion of all the proceeds from sales generated through Wal-Mart will be reinvested back into the growth of paintball, including the creation of new marketing campaigns aimed at new and beginning players.
“This new opportunity with Wal-Mart is not just about providing their customers with reliable and affordable equipment, but also giving back to the paintball community and putting a focus on growing and expanding the overall player base,” said Ceranski. “Our team is 100% dedicated to ensuring that a whole new era of paintball is on the horizon, and we look forward to helping make that future a reality.”
KEE has been heavily involved in the paintball community and educating the general public about the game in recent months. They attended two of the largest Boy Scout events in the nation, where Empire Paintball-branded shooting arenas and instructional classes were made available to the scouts. The company also unveiled a new billboard campaign this year, all in an effort to increase overall awareness of paintball.
The total impact of a deal of this magnitude has the capacity to produce worldwide benefits for the game, as the initial mainstream popularity boom that paintball experienced over a decade ago was due in large part to the success that major paintball retailers were having in chains like Wal-Mart.
“It’s truly amazing what this deal can mean for the future of the paintball industry,” said Giovanni D’Egidio, co-owner of Giant Paintball, the largest chain of paintball fields in the country. “KEE has managed to strike a deal that we feel will be capable of helping pull the paintball economy out of its slump, and produce a variety of positive benefits for both players and field owners around the country.”
PaintBall.com will continue to track this story and bring you new developments as they happen. You can learn more about KEE at www.KEEActionSports.com.