Originally posted 2015-03-02 09:00:36.
“Float like a butterfly, Sting like a bee…” These trademark words were spoken by legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, and may resurface again sooner than you think. On Wednesday, Under Armour, Incorporated announced that a multiyear agreement had just been reached with the famous boxer.
Actually, the deal was struck with Authentic Brands Group LLC, which purchased the licensing and management rights of Muhammad Ali in 2013. Packaged with with Ali’s coined phrases, will also be vintage video, and photos of Ali that will be utilized in a massive marketing campaign that will launch in March.
Though the terms of the deal were not disclosed, one can speculate that Under Armour’s motive behind signing Ali was an attempt to close the gap on Nike, Incorporated’s market share. Nike, reporting 28 billion in sales last year ranks first amongst the sporting retail giants. Under Armour reported 3 billion in sales last year for the first time, which allowed it to surpass Adidas, Incorporated for the second slot behind Nike.
Signing Muhammad Ali was not the only move Under Armour has made to beef up its regime. The retail sporting machine is preparing to launch a new shoe and ad campaign for Steph Curry of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. In December, Andy Murray, one of the most recognizable and dominant figures in men’s tennis, also signed with Under Armour.
Under Armour is placing major resources in endorsements, and recognizable faces. The company is already known for its aggressive and memorable forms of advertising. Most notably the “We Must Protect This House” campaigns. Now they have acquired legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, tennis star Andy Murray, basketball standout Steph Curry, and even seasoned golf pro Jordan Speith. One must admire Under Armour’s commitment to widening its market gap, and furthering the brand’s portfolio.
However, Under Armour, Incorporated should be more focused on being the best Under Armour that it can be. Though competition is healthy, it is unlikely that Under Armour will be able to substantially gain market share from Nike, Incorporated. Mainly, because it should be expected that Nike is making strides to widen their market share and keep their competitors at bay. Much like Under Armour, Nike has quite the “regime” as well, with the record breaking Jordan Brand leading the charge. One thing is for sure, the Nike and Under Armour’s market share battle has all the makings of a classic rivalry.
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