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#pounditSunday, January 23, 2022

Articles tagged: Under Armour

UCLA lost basketball recruits over Under Armour sponsorship deal

UCLA Bruins logo

UCLA on Tuesday announced that they have reached a sponsorship deal with Nike’s Jordan Brand to outfit the school’s athletic programs. The Bruins made the deal after Under Armour backed out of its record $280 million contract with the school earlier this year.

Though losing the Under Armour money likely hurts, the Bruins may see some other benefits from the switch.

Men’s basketball coach Mick Cronin said on Tuesday that he was told by players that the program lost some recruits previously due to their shoe affiliation with Under Armour.

The reasoning may seem silly to the uninformed, but there is more going on. Yes, there may be an element of Under Armour shoes not being viewed as cool, but that’s not all. It has long been whispered — and it became more widely known recently — that recruits often have ties to shoe brands long before they arrive at college. In some cases, these affiliations can dictate what colleges a player chooses from. Players are often “influenced” to choose a college that is outfitted by the same apparel brand that outfitted their high school club team. The Under Armour affiliation for UCLA may have narrowed their player recruiting pool.

UCLA’s deal with Jordan Brand is for six years and was negotiated without much leverage since Under Armour is out, so you can figure they’re making less than they were before. If they gain a recruiting advantage though, that could help offset the monetary drop.

UCLA files lawsuit against Under Armour over contract dispute

UCLA Bruins logo

UCLA has filed a lawsuit against Under Armour over a contract dispute between the two sides.

In June, Under Armour informed UCLA that it wanted to end its record $280 million endorsement deal with the school. Under Armour sought to end the deal due to financial struggles and invoked a force majeure clause. They used UCLA canceling sports due to COVID-19 as their justification, saying the school was not living up to the deal by not giving them brand exposure.

“It is unfortunate that Under Armour is opportunistically using the global pandemic to try to walk away from a binding agreement it made in 2016 but no longer likes,” UCLA said in response. “UCLA has met the terms of the agreement, which does not require that games in any sport be played on a particular schedule.”

UCLA argues that it was defrauded by Under Armour. They say the apparel company lied about its financial picture when the school signed a 15-year, $280 million deal with the company.

UCLA is suing Under Armour for more than $200 million, which is what it is owed as part of the deal.

Cal becomes latest school to vow to fight Under Armour termination threat

Cal Golden Bears logo

Under Armour continues to attempt to escape its west coast college apparel deals, and the schools involved are vowing to fight it.

The brand is reportedly seeking to get out of its deal with Cal, the second Pac-12 school with whom Under Armour is trying to sever its business ties. Michael Smith of Sports Business Journal reported Saturday that the brand was eyeing the Cal deal for possible cancellation, and both Cal and UCLA have been removed from the brand’s website.

On Sunday, Cal’s athletic department released a statement saying that they had no reason to believe they had violated the terms of the deal on their end, and that Under Armour did not have grounds for termination.

This is threatening to turn into a messy situation. Under Armour signed a 10-year, $86 million deal with Cal in 2016. That was around the same time they made an even bigger deal with UCLA — another deal Under Armour is trying to get out of.

Under Armour’s financial situation was not great even before the pandemic badly hurt global business. It seems as though the brand is trying to get out of some bad deals that they overpaid for citing the fact that they are not receiving marketing benefits that were part of the deal. Expect both schools to do everything they can to prevent this from happening, perhaps even taking legal action to try to uphold the contracts.

Under Armour trying to terminate apparel deal with UCLA

UCLA

UCLA’s record $280 million apparel deal with Under Armour may be in peril.

Under Armour informed UCLA that it is attempting to terminate the deal, which was signed just four years ago, according to Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times. UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero has pledged to resist Under Armour’s actions” by any means possible.

The reasons for this likely stem from Under Armour’s financial issues. Even before the pandemic, the company had an underwhelming 2019 as its accounting practices were being investigated and younger customers were not flocking to the brand. The pandemic has only made those issues more severe. Add in the fact that UCLA’s athletic success has been limited in recent years, and the company likely feels like it failed to get good value when money is tight right now.

UCLA has a lot of incentive to fight this. The Under Armour deal remains the most lucrative apparel deal in all of college sports. The athletic department already suffered an $18.9 million shortfall in 2019 even before the pandemic took hold, and that number is likely to get even worse in 2020. Losing the Under Armour money would be a huge blow to the department.

Under Armour still has high-profile athletes on its payroll, and those athletes have proven to be very loyal to the brand. Ultimately, it isn’t translating to financial health for Under Armour, and UCLA could suffer accordingly.

Bruins fans, show everyone who runs LA with this great T-shirt. It makes a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

Steph Curry shoes again mocked on social media

Steph Curry

Under Armour released a special edition Stephen Curry shoe and, once again, they were heavily mocked on social media.

In honor of South Carolina reaching the Final Four of this year’s NCAA Tournament, Under Armour released an “oxblood leather” version of the Curry 3 Lux shoes. As was the case last year when jokes flew about another Curry shoe from Under Armour, the same thing happened on Sunday. Here’s a sampling.

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Leonard Fournette signs endorsement deal with Under Armour

Leonard Fournette

Under Armour has signed yet another star athlete to its roster, as the sports apparel company is set to announce that it has inked a multi-year deal with former LSU running back Leonard Fournette.

ESPN’s Darren Rovell reports that Fournette’s deal with Under Armour is one of the most valuable endorsement contracts ever for a rookie.

“We have a roster of athletes that we choose and we’re never going to be that company that just collects athletes just to have the most,” Ryan Kuehl, Under Armour’s vice president of sports marketing, told Rovell. “We look for special people, who have the talent, the character, the story and the sense of purpose. Leonard Fournette fits that model.”

Under Armour does not currently have a popular NFL running back on its client list, and Fournette is expected to be just that. Many draft experts have predicted that he will go in the top 10 picks.

Fournette wore Under Armour in high school and played in the Under Armour All-America game in 2014.

“I’ve always had a great relationship with Under Armour and it means a lot that a company wants me to wear their product and that I’m good enough to represent them,” he said.

Fournette has also signed with Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports for representation.

While Under Armour is still a long way from competing with Nike, the brand now has plenty of star power with superstars like Stephen Curry, Tom Brady and Jordan Spieth. And based on what we heard about Curry, Nike is at least taking note of the moves Under Armour has made. Fournette should help the brand if he lives up to the hype.

UCLA likely to announce deal with Under Armour

Jim Mora UCLA

The UCLA Athletic Department has a press conference scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, and rumors are swirling that the school is going to announce it has signed an apparel deal with Under Armour.

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News recently speculated that UCLA was on the verge of signing the biggest apparel deal in college sports history. The previous high is a deal between Nike and Ohio State that is worth $252 million over 15 years.

UCLA is currently signed with Adidas as its apparel provider. As Joe Piechowski of Bruins Nation notes, Nike stole Michigan away from Adidas last year with an 11-year, $169 million agreement.

Under Armour has been making some serious moves over the past several years. The company recently signed an extension with MLB superstar Bryce Harper, and it is believed that Harper’s new deal is the richest endorsement deal for a player in baseball history. Under Armour has also partnered with Stephen Curry, Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Clayton Kershaw and Jordan Spieth.

Hopefully the Bruins continue their success in 2016. We all saw what happened the last time an Under Armour client suffered a heartbreaking collapse.

Under Armour airing three-second ad for every Stephen Curry playoff three

steph-curry-warriors

Under Armour’s marketing team is the real MVP this postseason.

With the 2016 NBA Playoffs beginning on Saturday and the Golden State Warriors opening up their title defense against the Houston Rockets, the sports apparel giant unveiled a clever campaign featuring Dubs guard Stephen Curry, the current face of their company.

For every three-pointer that Curry hits in the playoffs, Under Armour will post a three-second ad of the reigning league MVP to their Twitter account.

The campaign is already off and running with Curry hitting five three-pointers in the first half of Game 1 against Houston, unlocking five new advertisements.

Given that the superstar guard hit 98 threes last postseason and is coming off a regular season where he hit an unprecedented 402 three-pointers (yeah), let’s just hope that Under Armour has entire truckloads of Curry footage at the ready. They’re probably gonna need it.

Image Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

H/T NBA Reddit

Under Armour stock drops day after Jordan Spieth collapse

Jordan Spieth

Under Armour stock was down nearly 5.5 percent in trading on Monday, a day after high-profile endorser Jordan Spieth collapsed at the Masters.

Spieth blew a five-shot lead entering the back-9 in the final round of the Masters and lost what could have been his second consecutive green jacket. His collapse was considered one of the worst in golf history.

Spieth is one of the athletes most strongly associated with Under Armour’s brand, along with reigning NBA MVP Steph Curry and reigning NFL MVP Cam Newton. The Texas-based golfer signed a 10-year deal with UA last year.

Also affecting trading was a report from a Morgan Stanley analyst saying that it appears Under Armour’s domestic sales growth has slowed.

As major brand endorsers for Under Armour, Spieth and Curry are pretty close. Curry had a tough reaction to hearing of Spieth’s collapse:

If Under Armour could survive this past controversy, they’ll surely rebound from Spieth’s collapse. They chose wisely with their investment in the young golfer; he’ll be back on top.

Nike helped drive Stephen Curry to Under Armour with terrible sales pitch

Stephen-Curry-scratch

Stephen Curry has become one of the most marketable athletes in sports, but he’s not an endorser of Nike or even Adidas – he’s with Under Armour.

It turns out that Nike had Curry, and could have had him for much longer had they not sensationally botched their sales pitch pitch.

ESPN’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss detailed the brand courtship of Curry, including the story of the terrible meeting Curry and his father Dell had with a Nike representative in August 2013.

Nike didn’t send major power broker Lynn Merritt to the meeting, offering marketing director Nico Harrison instead. The meeting began with one official mispronouncing Curry’s first name as “Steph-on” and never correcting himself, and a Powerpoint presentation that accidentally left Kevin Durant’s name in it as the target.

“I stopped paying attention after that,” Dell Curry said.

Nike was also not willing to give Curry the chance to run a Nike-sponsored camp for young players, and were not prepared to market Curry as one of their A-list stars. It only enhanced the chip on Curry’s shoulders, and Dell likened it to the fact that in college, the only power conference program to recruit Curry was Virginia Tech, and they would only take him as a walk-on.

“Wasn’t highly recruited, wasn’t highly respected, wasn’t highly thought of,” Dell said. “It was kind of like that, you know?”

Thanks to the influence of then unheralded Under Armour endorser Kent Bazemore, Curry ended up with them. He’s not exactly making $500 million like LeBron James is with Nike, but Curry is the big name at Under Armor now, and more importantly, they actually tried hard to get him, unlike Nike.