SBD/March 14, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Under Armour Looks To Stephen Curry To Increase Basketball Shoe Market Share

UA is developing a signature shoe for Curry, backed by a national ad campaign
Warriors G Stephen Curry is "the only All-Star among a group of 11 NBA players" who endorse Under Armour, which has made him "the center of the company's effort to crack the basketball shoe market," according to Ira Boudway of BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK. Nike and its Jordan Brand have 92% of NBA players, compared with less than 1% for UA. UA Dir of Sports Marketing for Professional Basketball Kris Stone said of Curry, "He’s going to help continue to legitimize us in the category." UA is "at work on a signature shoe for Curry, a project that will take about a year and will be promoted with a national ad campaign." The brand said that it "hopes to have 10 percent of the market within five years" by "hitching to Curry’s rising star." But UA is "counting on something greater than Curry’s basketball skills and gentlemanly demeanor: He resembles a regular guy." Stone said that Curry's "underdog story was a big part of his appeal for the brand." Data from Repucom shows that Curry "ranks higher than any other NBA player as an endorser," with his score on par with Shaquille O'Neal, Usain Bolt and Phil Mickelson. Companies "have noticed," as Curry last year signed deals with both UA and Degree deodorant. Octagon agent Jeff Austin, who reps Curry, said that a sports drink brand last summer was "so eager to sign Curry that it offered to pay him three times as much as his current deal with Muscle Milk and cover any penalty for breaking his contract." A "cameo in a State Farm commercial" featuring Clippers G Chris Paul also is "coming soon." Unilever during NBA All-Star Weekend released a Degree spot "featuring Curry with the slogan 'Do more.'" The ad, "directed by musician John Legend, will air during this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament" (BUSINESSWEEK.com, 3/13).
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