Under Armour – Manufacturer Spotlight

Under Armour Baseball GearUnder Armour was founded in 1996, and the sports apparel business changed forever. The company was founded by a former captain for the University of Maryland special teams unit, Kevin Plank. Plank started Under Armour in his grandmother’s basement and now the company has grown to the point where they had revenue of more than $1.8 billion in 2012. The initial inspiration for the creation of Under Armour for Plank came when he was tired of his undershirts always being drenched in sweat after practice, while his compression shorts stayed dry.

It wasn’t until after Plank graduated did he create a prototype of his undershirt. He then provided it to former teammates that had since moved onto the National Football League and the popularity of the undershirt grew from there. The company quickly grew from making $17,000 in 1996 to $100,000 in 1997 before inking major deals with schools starting with Georgia Tech, North Carolina State and Arizona State University.

Under Armour continued to grow slowly, garnering attention from being in the films Any Given Sunday with Jamie Foxx and The Replacements with Keanu Reeves. Due to all the attention Under Armour got in the Foxx movie, Plank purchased ad space in ESPN The Magazine and business took off from there.  The company also got a lot more attention from being the official uniform provider for the Xtreme Football League, the brain child of professional wrestling promoter, Vince McMahon.

As the popularity of the Under Armour brand has continued to rise, they have begun sponsoring athletes from different sports including UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, undefeated boxing superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Super Bowl champions Tom Brady and Ray Lewis and American Olympic champions Michael Phelps and Lindsey Vonn. The company also provides the soccer jerseys of several popular clubs around the world including Tottenham Hotspur.

As time has gone on, other companies have attempted to invade the Under Armour market, but Plank has been successful in holding his market share. With the addition of a line of protective gear, catchers masks, chest and leg protectors, the line continues to grow.

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