Under Armour Beat Nike in Top Athletes Endorsement

By Staff Writer

Mar 14, 2016 09:32 AM EDT

Under Armour is a sport apparel which gained more attraction from top athletes. Stephen Curry, Andy Murray, Tom Brady, and Mike Phelps are among the names.

Under Armour has grown from a small company that produced shirt for American football athletes into a sports apparel giant. The company was founded by Kevin Plank in 1996, after he successfully found a synthetic fabric that was able to absorb sweat and keep the wearers dry. Plank was a special-team captain in University of Maryland football team.

The shirt made has helped many football athlete to keep dry during a match. Under Armour then received contracts with many NCAA football teams, such as Arizona State University and North Carolina State along with his almamater University of Maryland.

The brand was first gained recognition in American football athlete though an exposure in two Hollywood films, Any Given Sunday (1999) and The Replacements (2000). Both films depicted the life of a football team.

Since 2000, Under Armour expanded to more sports and getting endorsement from top athletes. One of its best decision is to get endorsement deal from Stephen Curry, the point guard of NBA team Golden State Warriors in 2013. The decision was proven correct, as Curry in 2015 won the NBA Most Valuable Players award, NBA Three-Point-Shootout Champion and NBA Championship.

Senior Vice President of Global Marketing Adrienne Lofton told Business Insider how the company made decision to contract an athlete, "You look at the ingredients that a [sport] actually needs for success. And then you look at the DNA of our brand, underdog spirit, very humble, we always talk about 'humble and hungry', and that is the blue collar DNA that we believe all of our athletes should possess."

Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympic athlete with 18 gold medals have been in contract with Under Armour since 2010. Phelps told Adweek regarding his decision to select Under Armour a few years back, "For me, it's without question an honor to have my own spot. To have a spot done like this one was, it's remarkable. It shows the raw things I've gone through to get to the point where I'm at. And that's something a lot of the public hasn't seen."

Along with Stephen Curry and Michael Phelps, other prominent athletes who under contract with Under Armour are tennis player Andy Murray, pro golfer Jordan Spieth and New England Patriot's quarterback Tom Brady.

The endorsement deals from prominent athlete has given a positive result for Under Armour to outpace Nike in footwear sales, an area which Nike has conquered for decades. According to Investors Business Daily, Under Armour gained 70.7% increase of sales in its footwear from last year, based on the SportScanIndo market research. While although Nike increased 23.5%, but its sales in its footwear was slowing down from last year.

Under Armour has taken over Nike in getting endorsement from top athletes. As a result, the sales has upsurged and Under Armour is now aiming at Nike's position as leader in the sports apparel business.

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