Known only in a few restricted circles for its special low-bounce balls cover ed with raw denim, which are meant to be specifically used for playing football in the streets, Manta has never made big strides in the market, especially outside the Netherlands. Its adoption by Foot Locker and the addition of shoes and accessories has not made a big difference, apparently.
This may change following an agreement that grants the European licensing rights for footwear and apparel under the Dutch brand to Superteam, a new company set up by David Langenberg in the Netherlands. It plans to relaunch the brand in that country early next year, while sealing distribution deals for other European countries.
David Langenberg is the son of Len Langenberg, joint founder and former general manager of the Unlimited Sports Group (USG), the leading Dutch sports retailer and distributor. He went into the sports business by himself three years ago by setting up a company called Rebel Rebel, which started with the distribution in the Netherlands of the Dunlop and Tretorn brands. While these deals have come to an end, Rebel Rebel still has a global footwear license for Airforce, a Dutch lifestyle apparel brand; and Dutch distribution rights for Jim Rickey, a Swedish brand of hand-made sneakers.
Monta was launched a few years ago by players and investors around Edgar Davids, the former Dutch football player, who is strongly committed to the development of street soccer with the Street Legends team – partly for the purpose of integration in tough urban areas. The Monta brand is still owned by Davids and his partners, and he will be involved in its promotion with Street Legends.
A few years ago Monta was sold in the Netherlands by Fros, which has distribution rights for a flurry of brands in the Netherlands and Belgium, from Kappa to Berghaus, Lacoste, Munich and more. But the arrangement with Monta did not last, and in the last two years Monta apparel and footwear has not been available in any structured way. On the other hand, another licensing agreement was sealed with Select, a Danish supplier of sports balls, which makes Monta's balls.
Superteam is holding advanced talks with potential distributors in the U.K., Germany and Turkey, and the latter may also cover some of the Balkan countries. Its objective is to have distribution in place in all the largest European markets in three years, and to move on to smaller markets thereafter. Key accounts and distribution deals for Monta are to be supervised at Superteam by Michel Schuurman, former buying director at Aktiesport, one of the retail chains owned by the USG group.