“To make all athletes better through passion, science and the relentless pursuit of innovation”
That brand statement is what drives Under Armour into the growing force that they have become now. Founded back in 1996 by former University of Maryland football player Kevin Plank, Under Armour started off with a simple concept of making a superior t-shirt for athletes. A shirt that would not only provide the necessary compression but be able to wick off perspiration from the skin rather then absorb it. A product that would work with your body to regulate your core temperature and enhance performance.
Getting inspiration from compression shorts that would stay dry Plank and co-founder Jordan Lindgren, another former University of Maryland Football player, began their business from Plank’s grandmother’s basement. This grass roots effort started by funding generated from word of of mouth which lead to $100,000 in order to fulfill in 1997. At that time a factory was located in Ohio to start creating the shirts and fill orders. A breakthrough came when a photo of former Oakland Raiders quarterback Jeff George was seen on USA Today leading to inquiries upon the gear. Following that front page picture, Under Armour’s first major sale came when an equipment manager from Georgia Tech put in a order for 350 shirts. The deal with Georgia Tech College lead to positive feedback and a contract with N.C. State.
In 1999, Under Armour was gaining traction from positive remarks from athletes. Another break came from Hollywood in the Oliver Stone football movie Any Given Sunday. One of the lead characters played by Jamie Foxx wore an Under Armour jockstrap that was sent from Plank to the costume designer. Using this advertisement, UA purchased an ad in ESPN the Magazine which resulted in $750,000 in sales.
The focus of the brand has not wavered since day one, with performance apparel geared to keep athletes cool, dry and light throughout the course of a game, practice or workout. The technology has grown more complex then when it first began but the philosophy of what to wear is simple. Wear HeatGear® when it’s hot, ColdGear® when it’s cold, and AllSeasonGear® between the extremes.
Under Armour’s global headquarters is now located in Baltimore, Maryland. In addition it has European headquarters located in Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium as well as additional offices located in Denver, Hong Kong, Toronto, and Guangzhou. In November 2007 Under Armour opened up it’s first retail location located nearby it’s headquarters at the Westfield Annapolis mall in Annapolis, Maryland. Since then the brand now five Specialty stores adding stores in Illinois, Massachusetts and New York. In addition Under Armour has Factory House locations that are located in premium outlet centers in over 28 states. Along with the United States the brand has opened a store in Edinburgh, Scotland recently as well.
Continuing to grow the brand began offering footwear starting in 2006. After much testing Under Armour began offering it’s basketball footwear lineup during the Fall 2010 with the lead athlete being the Milwaukee Bucks Brandon Jennings. Most recently Under Armour was in the spotlight with the Auburn Tigers who won their second National Championship while being outfitted with Under Armour apparel and equipment. This also lead to the brand signing Tiger’s quarterback and 2010 Heisman trophy winner Cam Newton to a contract before being drafted into the NFL.
Under Armour’s mission is to provide the world with technically advanced products engineered with our superior fabric construction, exclusive moisture management, and proven innovation. Every Under Armour product is doing something for you; it’s making you better. Continuing to follow their mission statement Under Armour continues to grow into the 21st century.