The History of Under Armour Sportswear
Under Armour is an American sportswear company that manufactures footwear, sports, and casual apparel. Along with their global headquarters based in Baltimore, Maryland, Under Armour also has their European headquarters in Amsterdam, international headquarters in Panama City, Greater Chinese headquarters in Shanghai, and a further 17 offices based all over the world. With market capitalisation valued at approximately US$10.7 billion in 2018, it’s easy to see why Under Armour is one of the most successful sportswear brands in the world.
The Beginning of Under Armour
Founded on 25th September 1996, Under Armour was created by Kevin Plank, a then 24-year-old former special teams captain of the University of Maryland football team. With humble beginnings in his grandmother’s basement in Washington D.C., Plank spent the majority of his time travelling the East Coast with the Under Armour apparel in the back of his car. His first major team sale came at the end of the first year of operation for $17,000.
When asked what inspired Plank to create the brand, he stated that during football practise his compression shorts would remain dry while the t-shirt worn under his football jersey was completely sweat-soaked. Thus, Plank was inspired to create a t-shirt using synthetic fabric made from microfibers with high moisture wicking capabilities and the Under Armour brand was born.
The Growth of Under Armour
The company received its first big break when Plank was contacted by Warner Brothers in 1999 to outfit two of its feature films, Any Given Sunday and The Replacements – both of which were megahits with soccer betting Australia fans. Following the release of Any Given Sunday, Plank purchased advertising space in ESPN Magazine and generated $750,000 in sales as a result. In 2000, Under Armour received even more attention when they became the official outfitter of the newly created XFL football league and in 2003 a private equity firm, Rosewood Capital, invested $12 million into the company. In 2007, Under Armour opened their first full-line retail location at the Westfield Annapolis mall in Annapolis, Maryland. Since then, through a series of strategic deals with various companies and sports teams, Under Armour has grown to dominate the sportswear industry.
The Under Armour Range of Products
The types of products produced by Under Armour include athletic shoes, t-shirts, hoodies, jackets, pants, leggings, and shorts, and they also manufacture accessories such as bags, caps, protective gear, and gloves. Thanks to the development of product lines such as TurfGear, AllseasonGear, and StreetGear, Under Armour has become one of the leaders in the emerging performance apparel industry. In 2013, Under Armour announced an expansion of the ColdGear line of products, Infrared, which claims to dissipate and re-circulate heat around the wearer’s body through the use of ceramic powder. In addition, the brand is also working on creating a new type of shirt known as ‘Coldblack’ which is designed to reflect heat in order to keep athletes cool in the sun. In 2018, Under Armour launched two new pairs of ‘smart’ running shoes which house a Bluetooth module, accelerator, and gyroscope.