Under Armour Ready To Take Down Nike?
Signs Deal With Boxing Legend Muhammad Ali.
Under Armour is becoming more aggressive in its effort to take a big share of the market away from Nike. CNN reported that the Baltimore-based company recently announced an endorsement deal with boxing superstar Muhammad Ali. CNN reported that the 73-year-old former heavyweight champion and the company did not disclose the financial details of the contract.
Under Armour announced last week that it will launch a line of lifestyle apparel sometime in March 2015, which will present Ali’s image and various motivational lines. Ali exited professional boxing in 1981 and currently has Parkinson’s Disease.
According to marketing experts, featuring Ali is a strategic move for Under Armour, considering how other companies also experienced success by continuing to present famous celebrities who have long retired, such as Frank Sinatra, Audrey Hepburn and Babe Ruth.
Yahoo! reported that, recently, Under Armour also embarked on its biggest global campaign yet, which will launch two advertisements featuring actor Jamie Foxx. The first segment presented NBA All-Star Stephen Curry and his first signature shoe. The new partnership with Ali comes after the company increased its sales by 32 percent from 12 months ago, raking in $3.08 billion. As a result, Under Armour is now bigger than Adidas and has become the second-biggest sportswear brand in the United States, in terms of sales.
Under Armour stated, «Ali is one of the most recognized and celebrated figures of all time». Baltimore Sun reported that the Ali endorsement will begin with a limited edition T-shirt which was available on its website on February 18. According to the company, a full line of clothing, shoes and accessories featuring the famous boxer will be available in the fall of 2015.
Glenn Silbert, Under Armour vice president for men’s outdoor and team sports, said, «We have access to his name, image and likeness. We can have some fun, creative exploration with him as an icon». Under Armour also signed deals with various celebrities, including ballerina Misty Copeland and supermodel Gisele Bundchen to beef up its women’s marketing campaign.
Despite failing to sign NBA superstar Kevin Durant, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank maintained that the company will continue to be aggressive. Plank said, «We’re going to grow 20%-plus next year with or without the deal. We wanted to send a message to every athletic director, to every president of every team club, to every league commissioner, that if you have a deal, there’s no deal too big for us».