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Under Armour’s Athletic Endorsements Paid Handsome Dividends

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Gaining a hold in footwear

The global athletic footwear market is dominated by NIKE (NKE), Adidas (ADDYY), Asics (ASCCF), Puma (PMMAF) and VF Corp. (VFC). Together, these companies account for over 65% of the market[1. Merrill Lynch, 2011]. Sketchers (SKX) is a brand that’s catching up quickly. It accounted for 3.5% of the global market.

Under Armour (UA) is a much newer entrant in the footwear market. It launched its first products in 2006. NIKE (NKE) is the undisputed leader. It has an ~60% share of the overall US market in athletic footwear. However, Under Armour became the number two brand in footwear in some of its top wholesale accounts in 2014. It also became the number two sportswear brand in the US in 2014. It passed Adidas (ADDYY)[1. Source: SportScanInfo, Sterne Agee, The Wall Street Journal]. It also gained market share in footwear.

To learn more, read Where NIKE And Under Armour Win In The Market Share Stakes and How The Sportswear Market Was Won: Under Armour Second in US.

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Footwear performance

Footwear sales came in at $431 million in 2014. It accounted for 14% of the total revenue. That was up from $299 million, or 12.8% of revenue, in 2013. In 4Q14, the footwear revenue spiked 55% to $86 million—from $55 million in 4Q13. The increase was driven by gains in the running, football, and basketball categories. Major models experienced traction. The models included:

  • Speedform Apollo retailing at $100
  • ClutchFit Drive retailing at $125

Star power

In terms of endorsements, the last weekend in January was eventful for Under Armour. New England Patriots star quarterback, Tom Brady won his fourth Super Bowl and third Most Valuable Player, or MVP, award. He wore the red and white Run ‘N Gun Under Armour cleats.

Andy Murray is the fourth ranked tennis player in the world. He recently signed with Under Armour. In the last weekend of January, he was the runner-up at the Australian Open tennis tournament.

Under Armour has an impressive list of launches lined up in February. The company is undertaking its biggest marketing campaign in its history with the Curry One. This signature shoe that will retail for $120. It will be launched by the vote leader for the NBA All-Star Game—Stephen Curry. The launch is slated for just before to the NBA All-Star Game. The campaign will also introduce the SpeedForm Gemini running shoe. It’s expected to retail for $130.

So, while Under Armour’s pockets aren’t as deep as NIKE’s pockets yet, its endorsements put the brand in the limelight. This is particularly relevant last weekend. Sports viewership ratings increased drastically.

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