Luck of the Armour
Under Armour has come a long way. What started out in the basement of CEO Kevin Plank grandmother's house in 1996, has now become the 2nd leading Sports Brand in the United States in less than 20 years of operation.
In 2010, UA hit the $1 billion mark, and since then, they have reached 3.78 billion in sales and is expected to hit $4 billion in 2016, with a goal of $10 billion by 2020. With that kind of growth it takes a lot of hard work but also luck, which has been demonstrated in 2015 through it's top sponsored athletes.
21-year old golfer and UA athlete, Jordan Spieth, became the 6th player to win the Masters and U.S. Open in the same year, last golfer to achieve that feat was Tiger Woods in 2002. Spieth also became the youngest winner of the U.S. Open since Bobby Jones in 1923.
Spieth is halfway to clinching the Grand Slam, still needing the PGA Championship and British Open to achieve one of the hardest feats in sports. With Spieth winning back-to-back majors, it will help propel the Under Armour brand into another stratosphere in the coming months.
Gary Van Sickle of Golf.com thinks that Spieth will achieve the Grand Slam, comparing his current run to Tiger in 2002, calling it the “Can-Do-No-Wrong-Zone”
Similar to UA, Spieth has rose to the upper echelon in his field while being the underdog, and to think, he was supposed to lose Sunday. Dustin Johnson had an opportunity to win the Open but had a three-putt 18th hole 12 feet out, which gave Spieth the title.
That right there took luck. If Dustin hits eagle, then he is a U.S Open Champion. If he hits birdie, he forces a playoff on Monday, but nope, an even par helps give Jordan Spieth back-to-back Majors and will haunt Dustin for the remaining of the PGA tour.
Under Armour went after the #1 golfer, Rory Mcllroy, but couldn't match Nike's offer. Spieth has made that loss for the brand an afterthought, Rory finishing 4th in the Masters and 10th in U.S. Open. Spieth now ranked #2 behind the Irelander, with the British Open approaching July 4th weekend. If Spieth can in fact win the Open, going 3-3 in Majors this year, I wouldn't be surprised if he surpassed Rory as the #1 golfer in the world, which would be a major win for the brand.
Steph Curry has experienced some UA luck in his run during the playoffs, due to injuries of opposing players at the point guard position, but it doesn't take away from his spectacular season.
UA was lucky enough to snag Steph after Nike felt that he wouldn't be able to sell a shoe, and boy was Nike wrong. After being crowned MVP, UA dropped a special “MVP” edition of the Curry 1s, which sold out in less than 20 minutes. Two weeks ago, UA dropped the “Like Father, Like Son” edition which was inspired by Dell Curry's Charlotte Hornets roots, also sold out in minutes, both times the UA.com website crashed because of too much traffic.
I'm not surprised that the Curry 1s are selling, especially with Steph winning both the MVP and NBA championship in the same year. And similar to the Jordan and Rory situation, UA missed out on Kevin Durant due to Nike overspending – for good reasons of course – but was blessed with the next best thing and MVP, Chef Curry.
With Under Armour being based in Baltimore, it is very interesting to see the brand grow into a global power. It took Nike 22 years and a name change (Blue Ribbon Sports 1964-1971) before hitting their first billion in 1986, it took Under Armour only 14 years. Nike is still the king of Sports Apparel, bringing in close to $28 billion in revenue last year, also owning 46% market share in sports footwear. Under Amour generated $3 billion in revenue in 2014, claiming 14% of sports apparel market share in the U.S. To give you an idea of the growth, Nike revenue increased 10% while Under Armour grew 30%. With UA underdog athletes knocking of the Nike's best this year, UA should see another big year in financial growth.