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SBJ/March 31-April 6, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship
UA will outfit Hendrick, Waltrip race teams
Published March 31, 2014, Page 7
The sporting goods company has signed multiyear sponsorships with Hendrick Motorsports and Michael Waltrip Racing. It becomes the official apparel provider for both teams, outfitting everyone from the pit crew to the front office in Under Armour-branded apparel.
The deals don’t include the teams’ drivers, and financial terms weren’t available.
Last year, Under Armour signed a one-year, trial sponsorship with Hendrick Motorsports and outfitted the team’s pit crews. It opted to expand that deal this year with a three-year extension that will see it outfit not only the pit crews but the rest of Hendrick’s 500 employees. It provides everything from footwear and hats to polos and pullovers. It also has branding on Hendrick pit crew members’ fire suits (Under Armour does not produce fire suits) and on the team’s pit wall banners, haulers, pit box and pit toolbox.
The deal doesn’t include Hendrick’s drivers — Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson or Kasey Kahne — but Under Armour does have rights to use their likeness as well as the likeness of their car and number, which it could use on apparel.
Hendrick, which had a deal with Adidas from 2008 to 2010, has invested heavily in improving the performance of its pit crews in recent years. It has doubled the size of its strength and conditioning staff, expanded its gym and built a state-of-the-art athletic field with a track that has the same surface as the track at the London Olympics. Those investments and Hendrick’s emphasis on improving performance attracted Under Armour to the team.
“The sophistication our organization has applied to performance and the forward thinking and strategy we’ve developed around athlete development and recruiting really resonated with Under Armour,” said Pat Perkins, Hendrick Motorsports’ vice president of marketing.
Under Armour signed with Michael Waltrip Racing because it saw similarities between its identity as an upstart brand that’s challenged established apparel companies and the team’s identity as a relatively new, gritty team that’s pushing its way into the upper echelon of NASCAR.
Terms of the two-year sponsorship are similar to the deal with Hendrick. Under Armour will supply pit crew apparel and team and executive apparel and receive the same mix of pit assets it is getting from Hendrick. It also will become the presenting sponsor of a new athletic facility and gym that MWR built at its headquarters in Cornelius, N.C., which has been branded as the MWR Performance Center Presented by Under Armour.
The deal is the first apparel sponsorship for MWR. The team previously bought its apparel from Oakley.
“When you can associate yourself with a world-class brand, that’s big,” said Ty Norris, MWR’s executive director for business development. “When you can expand your sponsorship portfolio to help on the budget side of your business, that’s a positive all the way around.”