Under Armour aims to expand reach with NBA deal

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 10, 2015 2:29 PM

By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) - Under Armour said on Monday it was expanding its partnerships with the National Basketball Association, sponsoring its pre-draft showcase and its youth basketball program in a move aimed at deepening ties with the league.

The No. 2 U.S. sportswear maker said it would be the title partner of the NBA's Draft Combine and a presenting partner of the Jr. NBA with a deal that expands the company's ties with the league that first began in 2011.

"Under Armour and the NBA share a commitment to basketball, fitness, and healthy living," said Emilio Collins, the NBA's executive vice president for global marketing partnerships.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The deal comes as Jr. NBA prepares to expand its U.S. efforts in October with the goal of signing up five million boys and girls over the next two years through a series of basketball clinics, skills challenges and regional tournaments.

Beginning in 2018, Baltimore-based Under Armour will also outfit the NBA Draft Combine as part of a multi-year global partnership for the days-long event. The showcase takes place annually ahead of the June NBA draft and allows college basketball players to exhibit their skills and meet with league personnel.

Under Armour said it will also develop a retail line of NBA Draft Combine apparel for fans.

"We're proud to expand our partnership with the NBA and continue our shared commitment to help basketball players everywhere realize their potential, on and off the court," said Adam Peake, Under Armour's executive vice president of global marketing.

The company, one of the fastest-growing sportswear brands in the United States, has been cashing in on the new trend of "athleisure," where clothing designed for athletic workouts is worn outside of gym.

Under Armour said it will promote its NBA athletes, such as reigning MVP and 2015 NBA champion Stephen Curry, in its campaigns, brand advertising and social media channels.

In June, rival Nike won an eight-year merchandising and marketing contract with the NBA, replacing Adidas as its exclusive apparel provider and making it the first athletic apparel company to have its logo appear on team uniforms.

(Reporting by Steve Ginsburg in Washington; Editing by Susan Heavey)