Under Armour readies ‘aggressive’ bid to take on Nike

US sports brand Under Armour is to use its sponsorship of Tottenham Hotspur in an “aggressive” digital marketing drive this summer as part of a wider strategy to steal market share from Nike and Adidas in the apparel category in Europe.


It will launch its biggest pan-European digital campaign later this summer including promotions on Facebook and Twitter.

Using the strapline “New Battles, New Armour, Our technology for your challenges”, the advertising blitz will feature Tottenham Hotspur branding as well as players such as Michael Dawson.

Under Armour has replaced Puma as the official kit supplier for the North London club, its first major push into professional football, in a bid to build awareness for the brand, its products and its other sports sponsorships.

The five-year deal, which is thought to be worth £50m, will serve as a platform for future campaigns, according to the sports footwear and equipment maker.

Speaking to Marketing Week Matt Mirchin senior VP of global brands and sports at Under Armour, says the ‘aggressive’ digital push is necessary because the brand needs to expand quickly.

“We see ourselves as multibillion dollar global brand and footwear along with our international brand and the extension of our women’s business are the three key drivers for us. Football helps us internationally but also helps grow footwear offering.

“We’re at the point now where we feel that because we have a strong connection to football combined with the size of the brand that we can go out and really aggressively widen the market to that European consumer and not only sell to them on Tottenham but also sell to them on the Under Armour brand.”

Additionally, the Baltimore based brand will support the club’s tour to the US this month with a CRM blitz to encourage its customers to become Tottenham Hotspur fans. It marks the latest instance in a growing trend of Premier League clubs including Arsenal, and Liverpool, which are using their summer tours to capture data on overseas on fans.

Founded in 1996, Under Armour is a small but fast growing rival for Nike and is worth $5bn.

The majority of its sales come from North America, where it has become one the country’s most popular sports brands. The company hopes the tie-up with Tottenham will ultimately help it to replicate this performance in Europe, which currently makes up 4% of its total sales. Earlier this year it launched its first marketing campaign in Europe.

“If you ask me if I think its possible for us to challenge Nike and Adidas here in Europe, then yes. I say that as humbly as possible. We had this same battle in the US several years ago and we were able to do ok”, adds Mirchin.

“We don’t believe it will be next year, or the year after that or maybe even the year after that by over time we can stay true to who we are, we can stay focused and use the right assets like spurs and global football to do this.”

The brand has 4000 retail outlets throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East compared with 18,000 sites across. North America.

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