So far this year in 2015, things have started off well for Under Armour (NYSE: UA) in the sports world. It’s the best of both worlds for Baltimore-based company with its explosive sales growth, and its winning bets in sports sponsorship across different sports fields. But could it be just a temporary good luck moment or are the tides turning in the favor of the Baltimore-based company for the long run due to strategy and execution?
To start off 2015 in the NFL, Under Armour’s client Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to win Super Bowl XLIX and won Super Bowl MVP in the process.
In Golf, Under Armour’s client Jordan Spieth won the Masters and the U.S. Open.
In the NBA, Under Armour’s client Stephen Curry won NBA regular season league MVP and won the NBA Finals with the Golden State Warriors.
All of those achievements came while facing players who have connections to Nike. Take for instance quarterback Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks facing off against Brady in the Super Bowl; LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers going up against the Warriors; and last but certainly not least, Tiger Woods being taken out of the limelight by Spieth’s success.
Spieth became the first player since Woods in 2002 to win the Masters and the U.S. Open in the same year, in June. However, one blessing in disguise for Nike is that even though they want to see Woods succeed, they have Rory Mcllroy to fall back on and to possibly dominate the sport of golf for years to come. But that possibly won’t happen in the near future as Mcllroy will be out of competition for some time or maybe even the rest of the year due to injuring his ankle playing soccer earlier this month.
Nike won’t admit it publicly, but those defeats have to sting even if it is coming from an upstart company about a quarter of their size in market value. So how long will Under Armour’s current reign over Nike last?
Right now in golf, Spieth looks to be the real deal as he keeps on winning with his latest victory at the J Deere Classic in and someone that the rest of the field will have to contend with in Golf for a long time.
In the NFL, Brady is in the October/November of his career but recent history has shown that he should never be counted out.
In the NBA, there are a lot more questions than answers between Curry and James. But Curry will be entering his seventh season next year, and James will be entering his 13th. If wear and tear plays any factor going forward, the edge could very well go to Curry.
Nike will possibly never go away but at the same time, Nike won’t always be sitting at the top of the throne and will at least have to share it as Under Armour grows as a competitor.