The origin of Under Armour is a legendary entrepreneurial story. What began with Kevin Plank- University of Maryland football player- inventing a sweat-wicking shirt in his grandmother's basement in 1996 is a billion- dollar business today. Under Armour Inc.- together with its subsidiaries- engages in the development- marketing and distribution of performance apparel, footwear and accessories for men and women.
The history of Under Armour is a legendary entrepreneurial story. It began in 1996 when Kevin Plank- University of Maryland football player- noticed that the cotton shirt he wore at the games was always sweat-soaked and uncomfortable while the performance shorts were dry and breathable. This inspired him to invent a sweat-absorbent T-shirt in his grandmother's basement in Washington DC using moisture-wicking synthetic fabric.. focusing on one simple principle: to create a better kind of T-shirt—one that could wick sweat and keep athletes cool and dry.
Upon graduating from Maryland in 1996 with a bachelor's degree in business administration, the journey began to turn this idea into a reality i.e. the high performance answer to the sweat drenched cotton dilemma. So he designed his first prototype of the shirt which he gifted to friends who were playing in the NFL. It was skin-tight. It was stretchy. And most importantly it wicked sweat faster than anything else out there. With their feedback he designed a T-shirt from microfibers that absorbed moisture and kept athletes dry and fresh. People began to take notice of the brand when USA Today featured Oakland Raiders quarterback Jeff George wearing Under Armour mock turtleneck. The brand's first team sale happened when he supplied apparel to Georgia Tech. This opened the door to a contract with NC State- Arizona State and other football teams. The brand soon moved its headquarters to South Baltimore where it developed its now-famous apparel lines HeatGear® TurfGear® ColdGear® and AllSeasonGear®.
In 1998 Under Armour moved operations from a row-house in the Georgetown neighbourhood of Washington DC which belonged to Kevin Plank's grandmother to an all-new headquarters and warehouse in Baltimore MD and slowly became one of the fastest emerging brands in the apparel industry. A turning point came when Plank used almost all company funds for an advertisement in ESPN- The Magazine. This resulted in a reported $1 million sales the following year! there was no looking back. By nearly quadrupling its revenues in a five-year period Under Armour surpassed $1 billion in annual revenue fifteen years after the company's founding in Kevin Plank's grandma's basement.
As everyone began taking notice of the performance wear brand.. Warner Brothers contracted Under Armour to outfit its actors for feature films 'Any Given Sunday' and 'The Replacements'. The following year Under Armour outfitted XFL. In 2003 Rosewood Capital invested an estimated $12 million in the brand and Under Armour focused on an aggressive expansion strategy and launched the brand's first television commercial with a rallying cry for athletes: 'Protect This House.' It featured former University of Maryland football standout Eric "Big E" Ogbogu and introduced the concept of WILL - a theme that remains an intrinsic part of the brand's DNA.
Under Armour went public on 17 November 2005 trading at NASDAQ under UARM and becoming the first U.S.-based initial public offering in five years to double on its first day of trading. The following year Under Armour diversified into footwear with the launch of a line of football cleats. The brand reportedly captured a twenty three percent share of the market in its first year and became the official footwear supplier to the NFL.
Concentrating on collaborations to grow the brand.. Under Armour outfitted speed skaters in the 2014 Winter Olympics.. provided uniforms to University of Notre Dame per a ten-year collaboration.. became Official Match Ball Partner of North American Soccer League.. contracted with UCLA for fifteen years.. and signed NBA athlete Stephen Curry.. PGA golfer Jordan Spieth.. and Philadelphia 76 Center Joel Embiid for endorsement deals. That said it isn't just a menswear- focused brand. Following its 'I Will What I Want' campaign with ballet dancer Misty Copeland- Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn supermodel Gisele Bundchen and others.. Under Armour's commercials showed empowered female athletes. This focus- together with quality female performance wear- resulted in bigger sales in Under Armour's North American women's apparel division.
After nearly a quarter of a century of outfitting athletes with the world’s most innovative performance apparel- footwear- and equipment Under Armour is now a global company with an estimated total revenues of over $5 billion. Under Armour athletic performance products are sold globally and are worn by athletes at all levels on playing fields worldwide. In sync with evolving consumer needs Under Armour also began pushing into the digital space to provide fitness solutions. Through the acquisitions of fitness app companies MapMyRun.. Endomondo.. and MyFitnessPal Under Armour built the world's largest digital fitness and wellness community.
In 2016 Belgian menswear designer Tim Coppens came on board as Creative Director of Under Armour Sportswear and designed the 'Built For Life' line of stylish apparel, accessories and shoes. The company rented a location on Fifth Avenue, New York and the store opened in 2021. Founder Kevin Plank stepped down from his role as CEO in 2020 and handed the reins of the company to Patrik Frisk. 'Our multi-year transition approach has ensured purposeful leadership continuity. Patrik is the right person to serve as Under Armour’s next CEO' said Plank in a company release. 'As my partner during the most transformative chapter in our history, he has been exceptional in his ability to translate our brand’s vision into world-class execution…' Today Under Armour makes the world's leading performance footwear, apparel and accessories and is a mainstay in sports arenas.
To Make All Athletes Better Through Passion, Design And The Relentless Pursuit Of Innovation
Under Armour envisions making superior performance wear for athletes. The core team believes in waking up every morning to make athletes legendary. From the best of the best to the ones just getting started, they put the athlete at the center of everything they do. The team creates fearlessly with the courage and conviction to defy convention and innovates by taking bold and smart risks. They also show up big where athletes train, compete and recover.
Kevin Plank (Founder)
Patrik Frisk (CEO)
Tim Coppens (Creative Director)
Recognition and Awards
Products and Services
Sportswear and performance apparel, accessories and shoes.
- Official website Under Armour
- Under Armour Snatches Up Health And Fitness Trackers Endomondo And MyFitnessPal Tech Crunch
- LinkedIn page of Under Armour LinkedIn
- Under Armours focuses On Women Forbes
- How Does Under Armour's Growth Over Recent Years Compare With Nike's? Forbes
- Under Armour launches brand with Stephen Curry USA TODAY
- Facebook page of Under Armour Facebook
- Athletic Wear Demand Drives Under Armour's Forecasts Raise BoF
- Twitter page of Under Armour Twitter
- Under Armour CEO to step aside after two decades Reuters
- Instagram page of Under Armour instagram
- Athletes with Under Armour endorsements Baltimore Sun
- Under Armour Cuts Annual Forecasts as Sportswear Demand Slumps BoF
- Under Armour CEO cashes in Baltimore Sun
- CEO Kevin Plank steps down GQ
- NASL X Under Armour NASL
- Under Armour Inks Deal With Cal Ripken Baseball NY Sports Journalism
- Under Armour Senior Director of Football NASL
- Wiki page of Under Armour Wikipedia
- MLB, Nike Announce 10-Year Uniform and Footwear Deal SL
Kevin Plank (Founder)
Patrik Frisk (CEO)
Tim Coppens (Creative Director)
Fashion and Textiles
Retail and Consumer Goods