Remember when Riddell and Nike and Reebok ran the sports world? If you played pro ball, you wore a big brand. If you played little league, you wore the same big brand. It seemed like there was no way in for any new kid on the block. But Under Armour came decked out for a long battle. Now they’ve won.
Look behind home plate in Major League Baseball, beneath the pads of NFL all-stars and across the courts of the NBA. There’s Under Armour everywhere. With Jordan Spieth, Under Armour is even a strong presence out on the Masters courses. Spieth may be a relatively new name, but he comes with massive success, having taken both the Masters and US Open tournaments last year.
And, in the NBA, where the upstart Golden State Warriors are breaking records set by basketball royalty, the team’s top star is wearing Under Armour sneakers. What! No Jumpman on Steph Curry? Nope. He doesn’t want to be like Mike. And Under Armour loves it.
Stock is up seven percent year to date, and brand recognition is through the roof. Remember the days when Under Armour was a new fad or something you could grab at Walmart to wear under your Nike or Speedo shorts? Those days are over. And when you go to the store for athletic shoes, expect to see Under Armour kicks right next to Nike and Reebok and Adidas.
Best of all, Under Armour has chosen their standard bearers wisely. While already wildly successful, both Curry and Spieth are young, dynamic and just beginning their careers. While it’s possible that one or both could tank, it’s highly unlikely … and the fans certainly don’t believe it’s happening anytime soon. They are flocking to see the new blood re-energize the sports they love.
All the stars have aligned for the onetime upstart Under Armour. How they manage their new place in the sports apparel pantheon will determine if they are here to stay or just another wannabe eventually vanquished by the swoosh.