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Under Armour, , is a USmarker clothing company best known for its introduction of form-fitting, moisture-wicking performance apparel designed to be worn under sportswear.

Founder Kevin Plank was an American football player with the University of Marylandmarker who got tired of having to change out of the sweat-soaked T-shirts he wore under his jersey, so he made a tee shirt using moisture-wicking fabric for athletic performance and founded the company in 1996.

The company has now moved to become a supplier of a much wider range of sportswear and casual apparel. Under Armour began offering footwear in 2006, and continues to expand its offerings to include: football cleat shoes (2006), baseball, lacrosse and softball cleats and slides (2007), training shoes (2008) and performance running shoes (2009).

Beginnings

Founded in 1996 by former University of Marylandmarker special teams captain Kevin Plank, Under Armour, originally called KP Sports, began with the idea to use a superior, moisture wicking fabric which had been in use by other activewear companies. KP and co-founder, former University of Maryland lacrosse player, Kip Fulks began their business endeavor from Kevin’s grandmother’s basement in the Georgetown area of Washington, DC.

By 1996, Under Armour had generated $17,000 in revenue purely by word of mouth. In 1997, Kevin Plank had $100,000 in orders to fill and found a factory in Ohio to make the shirts. People began to take notice of the brand when a front page photo of USA Today featured Oakland Raiders quarterback Jeff George wearing an Under Armour mock turtleneck. Following that front page, Under Armour’s first major sale came when an equipment manager from Georgia Tech asked Plank for 350 shirts. The deal with Georgia Tech opened the door to a contract with N.C.marker Statemarker. With positive reviews from players, word began to spread and orders began to increase.

Under Armour first made a profit in 1998 and received its first big break in the 1999 Oliver Stone movie “Any Given Sunday,” in which actor Jamie Foxx was shown wearing an Under Armour jockstrap. Plank sent samples of his products to the costume designer and convinced Stone’s assistant to pay for the Under Armour goods.

Leveraging the release of “Any Given Sunday,” Plank decided to tell the brand’s story to a wide audience. Plank purchased an ad in ESPN the Magazine and this bold move catapulted Under Armour to a new level. The ad generated close to $750,000 in sales, and three years after starting the company in his grandmother’s basement, Plank finally put himself on the payroll.

Headquarters

Under Armour remains close to its roots. The global headquarters is located in Baltimore, MD and serves as homage to the city’s blue collar sentimentality. Located at a former Proctor and Gamble facility now known at Tide Point on the city’s harbor waterfront, the compound's industrial brick exterior still retains the gritty appeal of a turn-of-the-century manufacturing district.

Under Armour also has a European headquarters located in Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium and additional offices in Denver, Hong Kong, Toronto, and Guangzhou, China. West Hempstead was also the main headquarters

Military

Many soldiers serving in Iraqmarker and Afghanistanmarker wear Under Armour or similar moisture-wicking clothing for some relief in the hot climate, but parts of the U.S. Military and other NATOmarker forces have banned such clothing in combat situations because polyester fuses to the skin when exposed to flame or intense heat, resulting in severe burns. However, the company lists the Army and Air Force Exchange Service as one of its big wholesale distributors in its annual report.

Retail operations

Under Armour Hat
In late 2007, Under Armour opened its first retail location, at the Westfield Annapolismarker mall in Annapolis, Marylandmarker. In May 2008, Under Armour also opened a larger store at Westfield Fox Valleymarker in Aurora, Illinoismarker. The stores are designed to look like the underbelly of a sports stadium with a tunnel entrance and a ramp that goes up into the store. Under Armour has opened several other stores in 2008, including one in the Natick Collectionmarker mall in Natick, Massachusettsmarker, and one in Westfield Montgomery in Bethesda, Marylandmarker.

Sponsorship

The brand has official outfitter relationships with college football programs in The Atlantic Coast Conference, The Big 12, The Mountain West Conference, The Western Athletic Conference, and The Southeastern Conference, including agreements with the University of Maryland, Texas Tech Universitymarker, Auburn Universitymarker, University of South Carolinamarker, University of Hawaii, University of South Floridamarker, and the University of Utahmarker. Under Armour is the official apparel supplier to the ACC and SEC. In August 2006, Under Armour became an official supplier of footwear to the National Football League.

Athletic teams

On February 15, 2008, Under Armour announced it will become the official kit sponsor of Germanmarker Bundesliga team Hannover 96 beginning with the 2008-09 season, Under Armour's first kit sponsorship for a professional soccer team. Under Armour also announced it would supply the Wales rugby team's kits starting with the 2008 end-of-year Tests.

Under Armour is the official outfitter for the football programs at Auburn University, University of Delaware, University of Hawai i, University of Maryland, University of North Texas, University of South Carolina, University of South Florida, Southern Illinois University, Texas Tech University, University of New Hampshire, University of Utah, Warren Central High School, Southern Garrett High School, Southlake Carroll High School, Lakewood High School marker, Donald A. Wilson, in Whitby, Ontario, Canada, Kearney High School, and Highland Park High School.

On September 2, 2008, Under Armour signed a 5-year contract with the University of Maryland, College Park worth $17.5 million, making Under Armour the sole athletic outfitter for all 27 varsity sports at the school. The contract went into effect on January 1, 2009. A similar deal was finalized with Texas Tech University in November 2008 involving outfitting of all 17 varsity athletic teams in a five year $11 million contract.

On December 1, 2009, Boston College announced it will be switching to Under Armour for the 2010 NCAA football season.

The clothing line is also the primary sponsor of the Under Armour All-America Game, an all-star game with the nation's top high-school football players.

In June 2009, Under Armour created a test team of Europe's best amateur and semi-professional footballers to promote the launch of their football boots in Europe. The UA11 features players from Britain, Spain and Germany: Blaise O'Brien, Adrian Sanguino, Dominik Aulbach, Mihael Lerotic, Michael Zahm, Igor Ferreira, Christopher Taylor , Johnny Nguyen, Kevin MacDonald , Jamie Reed and Benoit Rella.

Individual Athletes

Football



Baseball



Basketball



Soccer



Mixed Martial Arts



Films featuring Under Armour

Under Armour gear has also been worn from a featured team(s) in Hollywood movies. The movies include:



Product recalls

On April 29, 2009, the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission announced a voluntary recall of all Under Armour brand athletic cups. The cups, which were manufactured in China, may break when struck, posing a risk of serious injury to the athlete. They were sold from January 2006 through March 2009.

Awards

  • 2008 Billie Award in Breakthrough and Innovation for Boom Boom Tap


References

  1. Baltimore Business Journal
  2. Under Armour 11 site


External links




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