Under Armour

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Under Armour
Type Public
Traded as NYSEUA
Founded 1996
Headquarters Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Area served Worldwide
Key people Kevin Plank (Founder/CEO)
Products Clothing, footwear,
sporting equipment, accessories
Revenue Increase US$1.83 billion (FY 2012)[1]
Operating income Increase US$85.3 million (FY 2009)[1]
Net income Increase US$128.39 million (FY 2012)[1]
Total assets Increase US$546 million (FY 2009)[2]
Total equity Increase US$400 million (FY 2009)[2]
Employees 5,900[3]
Website www.UnderArmour.com

Under Armour is an American sports clothing and accessories company. The company is a supplier of sportswear and casual apparel.[4] Under Armour began offering footwear in 2006.[5] Under Armour's global headquarters is located in Baltimore, Maryland. Its European headquarters is located in Amsterdam's Olympic Stadium; additional offices are located in Denver, Colorado, Hong Kong, China, Jakarta, Indonesia, Toronto, Canada, and Guangzhou, China.[6]


Early history[edit]

Kevin Plank, founder of Under Armour

Under Armour was founded in 1996 by Kevin Plank, a then 23-year old former special teams captain of the University of Maryland football team. Plank initially began the business from his grandmother's basement in Washington, D.C. He spent his time traveling up and down the East Coast with nothing but apparel in the trunk of his car. His first team sale came at the end of 1996 with a $17,000 sale. From his grandmother's basement, Plank moved to Baltimore, Maryland. After a few moves in the city he landed at his now headquarters in Tide Point.[7]

As a fullback at the University of Maryland, Plank got tired of having to change out of the sweat-soaked T-shirts worn under his jersey; however, he noticed that his compression shorts worn during practice stayed dry. This inspired him to make a T-shirt using moisture-wicking synthetic fabric.[8] After graduating from the University of Maryland, Plank developed his first prototype of the shirt, which he gave to his Maryland teammates and friends who had gone on to play in the NFL. Plank soon perfected the design creating a revolutionary new T-shirt built from microfibers that wicked moisture and kept athletes cool, dry, and light.[7] Major competing brands including Nike, Adidas and Reebok would soon follow in Plank's footsteps with their own version of Under Armour's moisture-wicking apparel.[9]

People began to take notice of the brand when a front page photo of USA Today featured Oakland Raiders quarterback Jeff George wearing an Under Armour mock turtleneck. Following that front page, Under Armour's first major sale came when an equipment manager from Georgia Tech asked Plank for 10 shirts. This deal opened the door to a contract with Arizona State University, North Carolina State and other Division I football teams. With positive reviews from players, word began to spread and orders began to increase.[8] That same year, Under Armour launched with several new apparel lines including ColdGear, TurfGear, AllseasonGear, and StreetGear.[8] By the end of 1996, Under Armour had sold 500 Under Armour HeatGear shirts, generating $17,000.[8] In 1997, Plank had $100,000 in orders to fill and found a factory in Ohio to make the shirts.

Rapid growth[edit]

Under Armour received its first big break in 1999 when Warner Brothers contacted Under Armour to outfit its two upcoming films, Oliver Stone's Any Given Sunday and The Replacements.[7] In the film Any Given Sunday, Willie Beamen, played by Jamie Foxx, wears an Under Armour jockstrap. Leveraging the release of Any Given Sunday, Plank purchased an ad in ESPN The Magazine. The ad generated close to $750,000 in sales, and nine years after starting the company, Plank finally put himself on the payroll.[citation needed]

Part of the Under Armour Headquarters located in Locust Point, Maryland

The following year, Under Armour became the outfitter of the new XFL football league, gaining even more attention during the league's debut on national television.[8] In 2003, the company launched its first television commercial, which centered on their motto, "Protect this house."[7] In late 2007, Under Armour opened its first full-line full-price retail location at the Westfield Annapolis mall in Annapolis, Maryland.[10]

Present day[edit]

Under Armour has since opened several specialty stores and factory outlet locations in Canada, China,and 39 states including the opening of its first Brand House in Baltimore in 2013 and second Brand House in Tyson's Corner, VA.[11] Under Armour has also opened the Brand's first store outside of North America, which is located in Edinburgh, Scotland and is run and owned by First XV, the rugby store situated next door. In 2009, baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. formed an alliance under which the company would have significant presence at several venues and events under the auspices of Ripken Baseball, including providing uniforms for the minor league Aberdeen IronBirds and youth teams participating in the Cal Ripken World Series.[12]

Under Armour currently sponsors the NFL Combine with a collection of apparel used by the athletes in the combine.[13]


Early products[edit]

An Under Armour hat

Under Armour's initial TurfGear, AllseasonGear, and StreetGear. The expansion of their product line put Under Armour at the forefront of the emerging performance apparel

industry.[14] In 2003, Under Armour launched their Women's Performance Gear product line.[14]

Recent releases[edit]

Under Armour announced an addition to their ColdGear product line, called Infrared, that will be released in 2013.[15] This line is designed to disseminate heat using ceramic powder and re-circulate heat around the wearer’s body. This was designed so that the wearer’s heat signature will not be picked up. Under Armour also had released a product with scent control technology in 2012 titled, "Under Armour Scent Control". This line is designed so that the wearer’s scent cannot be detected.[16]

Under Armour outlet store in Henry County, Georgia

Under Armour is inventing a new type of shirt called “Coldblack,” which is designed to reflect heat and keep athletes cool in the sun.[17] Under Armour has come out with new styles for football uniforms. In October 2012, Under Armour created “The Wounded Warrior” project for football uniforms.[18] The University of Hawaii and Boston College wore the star studded cleats and the American striped jerseys. They were revealed when Boston College played Maryland on October 27, 2012, also when Hawaii played UNLV on November 24, 2012.[18]

The company produces the Speedform shoe in a Chinese bra factory. It has no insole and little stitching. Shoes are Under Armour's fastest growing product line, growing 31% from 2011 to $239 million in sales in 2012.[3]


On April 29, 2009, the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission announced a voluntary recall of all Under Armour brand athletic cups. The cups, which were manufactured in China, may break when hit, posing a risk of serious injury. They were sold from January 2006 through March 2009.[19]

On November 3, 2011, the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission announced a voluntary recall of all Under Armour Defender chin straps. The straps, which were manufactured in China, pose a laceration hazard when a player contacts the metal snap. They were sold from January 2008 through September 2011.[20]

Community involvement[edit]

UA Give Back[edit]

UA Give Back is Under Armour's effort to become involved in different facets of the world community. They have different branches in their organization that specialize in each cause that Under Armour supports. They consist of the UA Power in Pink, UA Freedom, UA Green, and UA Youth Movement.[21]

UA Power in Pink is an Under Armour program that promotes the women using exercise and fitness to fight breast cancer. This program began in 2002 and its national advertising campaign features real breast cancer survivors, partnerships with other non-profit organizations. It also hosts high school and collegiate Power in Pink games across the country.[22]

UA Freedom is an Under Armour program that supports the efforts of the Wounded Warrior Project whose mission is to honor, raise awareness, and aid wounded veterans and military service members. This program began in on Independence Day 2010.[22]

UA Green is an Under Armour program that exists to further the efforts of the Under Armour organization to improve different facets of their products environmental footprint. UA Green builds green technology into their performance gear. To help spread the message of environmentalism, UA Green created their Catalyst line which includes products that use up to four recycled water bottles in each piece of apparel.[22]

UA Youth Movement is an Under Armour program that promotes the cause of youth fitness and sports. UA Youth Movement has been responsible for providing youth with facilities to become active. They have renovated basketball courts and refurbished playing fields for kids to play and exercise in.[22] The UA Youth Movement has done work in Baltimore and Compton, and have been committed to the creation of an all-purpose playing field at Baltimore’s Patterson Park, and a turf field at Notre Dame Preparatory School dedicated in the memory of Yeardley Love.[23]


Under Armour supports and has partnered with the following organizations:


Under Armour promotes its products by sponsorship agreements with the following celebrity athletes, professional teams and college athletic teams:


American football[edit]

Association football[edit]

Club teams[edit]












Mixed martial arts[edit]









Colleges and universities[edit]

All schools listed are located in the United States.

Alliance with University of Maryland[edit]

Under Armour took over as the main uniform and equipment provider of the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland. They provide every athletic team at the university with uniforms and other products as well, similar to Nike's relationship with the University of Oregon where Phil Knight graduated. Under Armour unveiled a new version of the "Maryland Pride" uniform that the football team would wear against West Virginia University in September 2013.

In popular culture[edit]


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  2. ^ a b Under Armour (UA) annual SEC balance sheet filing via Wikinvest
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External links[edit]