A local sportsman is swapping the astro-turf for the production line as he attempts to battle with the big brands off the pitch.
Springfields hockey captain Matt Banks is about to launch his own online brand KABO and will take on the global sportswear giants after becoming dismayed with the price of hockey sticks and kit.
And the active father of two, from Preston, hopes the kit will “disrupt” the market place.
He said: “I was sick of paying over £200 for a stick, so I decided to make my own.
“It is something I have wanted to do for many years and the increasingly high costs of sticks and generally high cost of playing kit has frustrated me.
“I’m sick of seeing fussy, fluorescent sticks. My range is concentrating on the sticks – smart, simple black and white, we will be selling core products like kit bags, gloves and hoodies too.”
Since hockey sticks switched from wood to composite – a mix of materials including fibreglass, carbon fibre and resin, prices have increased dramatically but 35-year-old Matt believes this need not be the case.
He said: “It costs little to grab a football and have a kick around in the park.
“But hockey kit costs a lot of money, England hockey have just had their funding cut due to a drop in participation.
“Prices have snowballed over the years, around 10 -15 years ago you could get a wooden stick for a decent price but some of the new sticks and kit are priced out of peoples league – that is what we are trying to counter.
“I know the kind of costs involved in stick production and it’s not as high as people are led to believe.”
And now entrepreneur Matt who is already a successful businessman and director of health care company Aprillis Health, is preparing to fly out to Sialkot in Pakistan ahead of the big launch on August 1.
He said: “I am actually flying to Pakistan to visit the factory that will be making my clothing and sticks on June 23.
“Sialkot is the sportswear capital of the world, they make everything from cricket bats to footballs and it is a great they will soon be producing my brand too.”
After struggling to pick a name for his new project, family man Matt was inspired by his young children.
He said: “The brand is called KABO – nothing to do with hockey but I have a daughter called Katie and a son called Bobby hence KA-BO – they are really excited.
“We will be a challenger brand and hopefully disrupt the market place.
“In our price and design we have found a unique selling point.
“My wife Lisa has been testing a stick out in the women’s summer league at UCLAn Sports Arena.
“The stick played in four different matches and netted six goals.
“Hopefully other hockey players will agree the sticks look very different to what’s already out there and jump on board our affordable kit.
“A leading e-commerce company Exact Abacus, based in Chorley, is taking an equity stake in the business and will be providing all the back office requirements as the brand will be based on-line.
“It is good to work with local companies.”
The website: www.kabohockey.co.uk will launch on August, 1, for more information follow @Kabohockey on Twitter.