Sports Equipment Manufacturers Shift Production Focus to Combat COVID-19

Sports equipment companies are shifting their production from cutting-edge sporting hardware to materials assisting in the fight against COVID-19.

Companies such as Bauer, Fanatics and even entire Formula 1 (F1) teams are chipping in to make personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare professionals working in hospitals and patients who are suffering from COVID-19.

Bauer, a hockey equipment manufacturer, produces everything from goalie pads to skates. However, in light of current events, the Canadian company switched from making helmet visors to face shields for medical staff.

The hockey company will produce the shields at their maximum capacity of 300,000 units, even though their demand has reached 1 million. They’re currently making 4,000 shields per day. Bauer has urged other companies to help due to the extremely high demand.

“We are proud to be using our resources to protect medical workers on the front lines battling COVID-19, but WE NEED YOUR HELP,” the company tweeted on March 28. Ford has contacted Bauer to receive instructions and specifications about the shields to help relieve their production pressure.

Another company helping the front lines is Fanatics, the MLB’s designated uniform supplier. They switched over from making baseball jerseys to making gowns and masks for healthcare professionals using the same polyester material from which they make their jerseys. 

According to CNN, the first examples of the donated PPE were repurposed New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies uniforms, featuring blue and red pinstripes, respectively. Fanatics plan to make 1 million masks in the next few weeks.

On the other side of the globe, the British-based Mercedes High Performance Powertrains, which provides engines to various F1 teams, created a breathing apparatus for patients suffering from COVID-19. It only took less than five days from Mercedes’ initial talks surrounding building the device to the inception of the first prototype.

The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine was made as a part of F1’s “Project Pitlane.” Announced on March 27, all seven UK-based teams (Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren, Renault, Racing Point, Haas and Williams) will produce ventilators by reverse engineering similar devices and building them at a rate to keep up with their worldwide demand.

With this mass collaborative production of PPE and ventilators, these entities can hopefully revert back to their regular production within a few months and sporting events can finally make a comeback.

About Jared LaBrecque 103 Articles
Jared LaBrecque is a fourth-year journalism major. This is his fifth semester on The Oracle. He previously served as a News Copy Editor and a Sports Copy Editor. He enjoys writing about his favorite sports, Formula 1 and hockey, as well as Coldplay and cars.