Soccer mania

Mészáros and team have closed the 2Rule branches; retail sales also suspended

Stop, drop and roll – this is not a drill. The sports brand 2Rule, owned by moneyman Lőrinc Mészáros who is usually in no shortage of good financial fortune, appears to be struggling. The Hungarian Sports Brand Co. recently closed its two branches, and its web shop is also down. The company confirmed their financial hardships when asked, but did not give further detail. The stormy waters put the company’s summer sale – 70,000 2Rule products were gifted away – into a new light.

Click on the web shop at your own peril. Well, it’s not actually perilous – but it does lead nowhere, beyond the message “Our web shop is temporarily unavailable”.

According to information available in Opten, the Hungarian Sports Brand Co. relocated its headquarters to the Mészáros Center at 59 Andrássy Street in Herceghalom this February. They also closed the company’s two branches in Budapest, located at 80 Váci Street and 280 Ferihegyi Street – both of which had been opened in 2019, just five years ago.

At the same time, they appointed a new CEO Dr Anett Vincze to replace her daughter Dr Enikő Klára Aszalós. Aszalós is now the CEO of Testőr Ltd. and Testőr-Audit Ltd – companies that, along with the Hungarian Sports Brand Co., are part of the Talentis Group, which belongs to Lőrinc Mészáros’ interests.

The retail sales are currently suspended

We inquired with the company about why they closed the two Budapest branches, and we asked how many stores the Hungarian Sports Brand Co. currently has in the country, and, should they not have their own stores, how and where they sell their products. We also asked about the web shop, and tried to get information from the company about who the buyers of the Hungarian Sports Brand Co. products are. Are they foreign or Hungarian companies, sports clubs, or private individuals?

We noticed in the public procurement database that the Hungarian Sports Brand Co. has not won any public procurement contracts since 2019, nor has it participated in any tenders. We asked the company to confirm this.

The communications directorate of the Mészáros Group responded within half a day, although they did not go into detail. “It is a fact that can be known from the Opten company database that the 2Rule Hungarian Sports Brand Co. has

relocated to a new location, and accordingly, the office and showroom have ceased to exist,” they wrote.

“Furthermore, we would like to inform you that the sales of our products are conducted through sales managers, retail sales are currently suspended, and our partners are mainly large companies and sports clubs.”

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Google image of the 2Rule showroom on Váci út in May 2022.

Mainly manufactured abroad

The company did not substantially respond to why they closed the branches and why retail sales are suspended. The financial reports for 2023 are not yet public, so it is currently unknown if there is a financial motivation behind the decision.

In previous years, the business did not perform poorly. In 2018, they had a net revenue of HUF 168 million, and processed turnovers of around HUF 400 to 500 million. By 2022, their net revenue had reached HUF 807 million. As is common for a start-up, their first year was loss-making (HUF -127 million), but then they generated profits of HUF 21, 108, and 138 million successively. In 2022, the company’s profit almost reached HUF 200 million.

TV2 has covered the brand previously, noting its success in penetrating the football equipment market with ease – within a year of its founding, the brand appeared on the jerseys of NB1 football clubs Diósgyőr, Haladás, and Puskás Akadémia from Felcsút.

The products’ quality, however, has previously come under questioning. 444 found one pair of shorts and sweatpants and a hoodie that were all labelled as “Made in Hungary” – but, according to a 2019 report, all 2Rule products are made in China, Turkey or Bangladesh. Decidedly not Hungary.

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The Felcsút youth team prepared for the spring kick-off against Bicske in 2Rule jerseys (photo: Puskás Akadémia/Facebook)

The gifted 70,000 2Rule jerseys

The closure of the branches sheds a new light on last summer’s news that the Pro Filii Foundation of the Mészáros Group donated around 70,000 2Rule products to needy young people, worth a total of HUF 200 million.

This noble and generous gesture now seems more like a clearance sale – a free-for-all from a sinking ship.

We asked the company if the giveaway was tied to the company’s financial woes, and were told, in return: “As a significant player in the Hungarian economy, the Mészáros Group has long been committed to corporate social responsibility and philanthropy alongside its business activities. The Pro Filii Foundation’s Together We Move! sports jersey donation program took place in this spirit.”

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Lőrinc Mészáros Foundation donated 2Rule products on 29 August 2023 (photo: Pro Filii/Facebook)

An overflow, then, of magnanimity.

Lőrinc Mészáros also said during the donation project that, with the development of the corporate group, they felt it was their duty and task to help those in need through these giveaways. He added that the purpose of the sports equipment donations is also to encourage young people to engage in physical activity, sports, and a healthy lifestyle.

Translated by Vanda Mayer. The original, Hungarian version of this story was written by Eszter Katus and can be found here.