SBD/November 16, 2010/Marketing And Sponsorship

Under Armour, Tom Brady Both Stand To Gain From Partnership

Brady Now Owns A Piece Of Under Armour Thanks To Deal

Tom Brady's new sponsorship deal with Under Armour "is a win-win," giving the Patriots QB a stake in the company and giving Under Armour "an international sports and style icon," according to a front-page piece by Beth Teitell of the BOSTON GLOBE. The Baltimore-based apparel company is "banking that the NFL’s biggest celebrity will build awareness of the brand and help propel Under Armour from a small, second-tier firm to a major player." Under Armour may not "be a household name, but it has cachet among teens and preteens, weekend athletes, and Hollywood stars." Under Armour Senior VP/Brand Steve Battista said of Brady, "The wow factor he has with men and women and children alike is pretty special. When you tell people, ‘Hey, we signed Tom Brady,’ you get the same astonishment from male football fans as you do from their wives, and obviously the kids are excited." Teitell notes if Under Armour's "strategy in tapping Brady is sound, soon you will be able to look for its clothes on a child near you." UCF DeVos Sport Business Management Program Associate Dir Bill Sutton said that Brady’s endorsement also "could help the brand appeal to women." On the other side, Brady has said that "he hopes his association with Under Armour will help him remain hip to a younger generation" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/16).

PLAYING THE STOCK MARKET: In N.Y., Paul Tharp noted Brady and surfer Kelly Slater, who recently accepted a 3% stake in Quiksilver instead of a reported $10M bonus, "join a small but growing group of athletes hoping to get a piece of the action and help grow the company -- and their shares -- to much greater wealth." Sports Business Group President David Carter said, "This is an entirely new landscape for athletes, and they've got to be cautious about doing their due diligence on endorsements." Other marketing experts contend that the "equity system is gaining fans among jocks and corporations alike." Tharp noted there is "no tax taken out of a player's package, and sponsors don't have to worry about morality lapses ruining their entire investment in a star." Engage Marketing President Kevin Adler: "When athletes have skin in the game -- and know they'll make more money by helping a company's business -- they'll work a lot harder for a corporate goal" (N.Y. POST, 11/13). Horrow Sports Ventures CEO Rick Horrow said of taking a stake in a company, "It always has been true that spokespeople will drive product. But if a good spokesperson turns into a bad spokesperson, you can't always jettison your equity partners as easy as it is to just terminate a contract" ("NBR," PBS, 11/15).

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