In 1984, it was born as a high-school class project in Durham, North Carolina. Today it’s the largest soccer, lacrosse, and rugby retailer in the world.
It all began when Mike Moylan, an 18-year-old soccer player and fan, decided he wanted to put together a catalog, a place where people like him could easily find the best gear in the game. With the help of his family (including brother and current COO Brendan Moylan), Mike ultimately turned his idea into the multi-channel, multi-sport business known today as Sports Endeavors Incorporated (SEI).
The first Eurosport catalog was sent out in the fall of 1984 with just 24 pages and a mailing list of 6,000. In those early years, the company was housed in a small, 900-square-foot building in Durham that included a retail space, a few desks to take phone calls, and a small stock room.
In 1991, the company moved from Durham to the former White Furniture factory in nearby Hillsborough, which continues to serve as the company headquarters today. That same year, Mike and Brendan donated some balls and uniforms to a friend serving with the Peace Corps in Malawi, Africa, and ultimately created the program known as Passback. The idea: SEI would collect “used but still usable᾿ soccer-gear from customers all over the country and send it to less fortunate players around the world. The Passback Program has distributed over 900,000 items worldwide since its inception. (Find out more at Passback.org.)
In 1994, SEI branched out beyond soccer, and the Great Atlantic Lacrosse Company was formed. A year later, the first lacrosse catalog went out to 17,000 players. That same year SEI took notice of an emerging computer network called the Worldwide Web and bought the URLs SOCCER.COM and LACROSSE.COM.
In 2005, SEI merged with a multi-sport company based in Birmingham, Alabama, called 365, Inc. Owned by Bernard Frei, 365 added a strong rugby business to the SEI line-up. Bernard now acts as Managing Director of the overall company. In 2006, SEI built a new warehouse in Mebane, North Carolina, to accommodate the growing business and prepare for the 2006 World Cup.
In 1984, the company had three full-time employees. Today there are more than 300 full-time staffers and over 400 part-time and seasonal workers. That first Eurosport catalog boasted a mailing list of 6,000. Today over a million soccer, lacrosse, and rugby players and fans receive a catalog each month, and over 60,000 items are sold through SEI’s websites and catalogs. Yet, almost three decades later, SEI is still a family-owned business with Mike and Brendan at the helm. And SEI continues to be a team united by an unwavering dedication to service and a passion for soccer, lacrosse and rugby.