Under Armour Inc (US)

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Under Armour has emerged as one of the main challengers to sportswear's global elite of Nike, Adidas and Puma, and is currently the fast-growing in the sector. Revenues have more than doubled in three years to $4.8bn in 2016. It overtook Adidas in 2014 to become the #2 sportswear brand in the US behind Nike. That lead was surrendered again in 2016 but competion with Adidas for the #2 spot remains neck-and-neck. The brand has partnership arrangements to supply kit to several major US collegiate conferences and sports associations, most notably Major League Baseball. It still generates more than 80% of revenues at home, though international sales are growing rapidly. Globally, Under Armour is now the #3 in the sector, ahead of Puma. Launched in 1996 by former athlete Kevin Plank, the company's original focus, as its name suggests, was to create weatherproof, sweatproof sports clothing to keep athletes dry and comfortable. It also now produces footwear, as well as wearables like the HealthBox fitness band, but sports apparel still generates two-thirds of revenues. The company has signed up a small but significant team of high-powered endorsement partners including actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, swimming champion Michael Phelps, ballerina Misty Copeland and supermodel Gisele Bundchen. Plank remains CEO and has a majority of voting shares. Adbrands does not currently offer a business profile for this company but subscribers may access account assignments and contact information. The searchable account assignments database is available to full subscribers to Adbrands.net premium services. Click here to access Adbrands account assignments (subscribers only); or see here for information on how to subscribe.

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Capsule checked 6th April 2017


Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 3rd Aug 2017: Under Armour is still in the doghouse, reporting another disappointing quarter, another loss, albeit narrower than the year-ago period, and a cut in full-year revenue forecasts. Despite low double-digit growth in sports apparel, analysts were worried by a decline in footwear, perceived as key to the company's switch to a broader-based sportswear manufacturer. Under Armour shares slumped to their lowest level in over eight years.

Adbrands Weekly Update 29th Jun 2017: Under Armour CEO and controlling shareholder Kevin Plank took further steps to strengthen his management team with the appointment of Patrik Frisk as president & COO. Frisk was most recently CEO of shoemaker Aldo Group, and before that spent several years at VF Corp, latterly as president of Outdoors Americas, overseeing The North Face, Timberland and other brands. Among a number of other executive changes at UA, merchandising chief Kevin Eskridge was promoted to a newly created role of chief product officer, with responsibility for product, merchandising, design and innovation.

Adbrands Weekly Update 4th May 2017: Sportswear company Under Armor was able to assuage the worst of analysts' fears despite reporting its first ever loss for 1Q. The deficit of $2m was much lower than had been feared, while revenues were up 7% overall, including a spectacular 52% jump from international sales. That prompted a 10% pop in the company's share price, which had plunged at the start of the year. “We know we've got hard work ahead of us," said CEO Kevin Plank "and while we are certainly used to that, we respect the challenge and are pursuing it full force... Our team is hungry and humble with our heads down, engaging, empowering, editing and executing."

Adbrands Weekly Update 16th Feb 2017: Hot on the heels of disappointing 4Q results, and the subsequent crash in its market value, Under Armour also came under fire from some of its athlete partners for comments made by CEO Kevin Plank that appeared to endorse President Trump, on whose America Manufacturing Council he sits. Plank told CNBC that a "pro-business president" was "a real asset to this country". Two of UA's top athletes, basketball star Stephan Curry and ballerina Misty Copeland, were quick to distance themselves. Curry told San Francisco's Mercury News "I agree with the description... if you remove the 'et' from asset" while Copeland told her Instagram followers, "I strongly disagree with Kevin Plank's recent comments" and urged him to take "public action to clearly communicate and reflect our common values". A few days later, UA clarified its stance in a formal statement. "We engage in policy, not politics.... Under Armour and Kevin Plank are for job creation and American manufacturing capability. We believe building should be focused on much needed education, transportation, technology and urban infrastructure investment.  We are against a travel ban and believe that immigration is a source of strength, diversity and innovation for global companies based in America like Under Armour." A fullpage ad in the Baltimore Sun, UA's hometown newspaper, reiterated those sentiments in the form of an open letter from Plank.

Adbrands Weekly Update 2nd Feb 2017: US sportswear company Under Armour's dynamic growth streak came to a sudden halt at the end the end of 2016. For the year, Under Armour reported a 22% lift in revenues to $4.8bn, while net income was up 5% to $259m. However, 4Q revenues rose by only 12% , significantly less than investors had been expecting or indeed the company had been forecasting as recently as three months ago. Concerns were exacerbated by a similar forecast for the year ahead, and the abrupt resignation of Under Armour's CFO "for personal reasons". Until now Under Armour had delivered 26 consecutive quarters of growth of at least 20%. The shortfall prompted a crash in the company's share price, which fell by more than a quarter to levels not seen since 2009. The slowdown reflects the brutal competition in US sportswear, especially through traditional retail channels. As the FT's Lex column noted, "Of the seven significant US retail bankruptcies in 2016, two were at chains selling Under Armour gear (Sports Authority and Golfsmith). Several other retailers are teetering, battered by online competition that has contributed to a price war."


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