A Moscow-based brand of casual and performance sportswear, ZA Sport, which has been appointed as the official supplier of sportswear and sports apparel for the Russian athletes competing in the Olympic Games, announced plans to open a network of stores under its sports brand throughout the Russian Federation at the end of January.
The company currently sells sport clothes and shoes under its own brands in eight stores in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi. With this step, it is eying an expansion into the Russian provinces. The contract with Russian Olympians will support the retail project of ZA Sport, as the company will be able to sell the sportswear it has designed for them in its own stores.
The announcement came shortly after the signing of an eight-year kit supply deal between the company and the Russian Olympic Committee, replacing Bosco Sport as the official supplier of clothes and shoes for the Russian Olympians up until 2024. Bosco Sport has been opening stores under its own brand all over Russia in recent years.
ZA Sport has already designed “a neutral sportswear” line for the Winter Olympic Games taking place in Korea this month, featuring no national symbols. It got permission to use the designs from the International Olympic Committee, according to a statement by the company.
The sportswear line is set to be used by 169 Russian athletes in the 2018 Winter Olympics and 30-35 athletes in the Paralympic Games. The IOC has prevented them from using any national symbols because of a doping scandal.
Bosco had been the official supplier of the Russian Olympic Committee since 2002, taking the place of Reebok, but the company did not apply to extend its contract after January 2017. According to the company, its decision was not directly associated with the doping scandal.
The Russian Olympic Committee had offered some 650 million rubles (€9m-$11 million) to provide sportswear and sport apparel for the Russian Olympic athletes in 2018, according to Mikhail Kusnirovich, the owner of Bosco. He told the Russian news media that this figure was too low in his opinion, as it would not cover the real commercial cost of the operation. He called it some kind of “charity.”