Under Armour Named an Official Footwear Supplier of NFL

Upstart Apparel Maker Joins Nike, Reebok on Gridiron in $50 Million Deal

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The National Football League today named Under Armour an authorized supplier of footwear to league players in a huge coup for the Baltimore-based firm that has skyrocketed from a niche company to an up-and-comer in the sports apparel and footwear business.
The Under Armour brand had $242 million in sales in 2005.
The Under Armour brand had $242 million in sales in 2005.

Six-year deal
Though neither side would disclose details, executives familiar with the agreement said the deal is for six years and $50 million.

The pact includes advertising and marketing commitments with NFL Network, NFL.com and the NFL's broadcast partners CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN, and enables Under Armour to supply NFL players with branded footwear for use during games. In addition, the company may use NFL and club logos to promote its footwear products.

In addition to related marketing expenditures, Under Armour agreed to allow the NFL the opportunity to purchase up to 480,000 shares of its Class A common stock in future years at a price equal to the closing price on the Nasdaq the day before the agreement was signed.

Under Armour joins Reebok and Nike as authorized footwear suppliers of the NFL. League players may wear any brand of footwear during games, but must tape over company logos if the shoes are not provided by authorized NFL footwear suppliers.

Football commissioner
"We are pleased to add Under Armour to the select group of companies that have on-field rights with the NFL," said Roger Goodell, NFL exec VP-chief operating officer, who is considered one of the leading candidates to become the next commissioner of the NFL. Owners are meeting this week in Chicago to pick a successor to Paul Tagliabue.

"This is the pinnacle of on-field authenticity and the partnership helps accomplish our mission to deliver the very best performance products to all levels of athletes," Under Armour Chairman and President-CEO Kevin Plank said in a statement. "Now we have an official presence on Sundays with the best players in the world to complement the scores of student athletes wearing our products on Saturdays and under the Friday night lights."

Mr. Plank is a former University of Maryland football player who grew tired of changing his sweat-soaked cotton T-shirt several times a game. In the late 1990s, he began Under Armour from the basement of his grandmother's home in Washington and started making a line of apparel made of microfiber fabric that fits snugly around an athlete's upper body like a second skin. The microfibers "wick" sweat away from the body and through the outside of the shirt, where it evaporates or runs off.

$242 million in sales
From 2001 to last year, Under Armour went from annual sales of $20 million to $242 million.

Under Armour launched its first line of footwear -- football cleats and slides -- during the NFL draft this past April with a major media campaign entitled "Click Clack," a reference to the sound cleats make on concrete just before the players step on the field. "We believe this partnership is the next logical chapter in the Under Armour brand story," Mr. Plank said.

Separately, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said it was "premature" to talk about a published report that Prince will be the halftime performer for the 2007 Super Bowl.
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