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UNDER ARMOUR TO ENTER SNEAKER WARS? PDF Print E-mail

The Washington Post is reporting that Under Armour is about to enter the crowded sneaker market and take on the big boys - Nike, Adidas and Reebok.  Under Amour created an untapped market when it created T-shirts that would not retain moisture and marketed them to football players.  The company recently made a big splash in basketball circles with its endorsement deal with Brandon Jennings, the first player to jump from high school to play professionally in Europe. 

This could be a case of history repeating itself as Kevin Plank, founder of Under Armour, looks to unseat Nike, the 800 pound gorilla of the sneaker industry.  In the early 80's Nike unseated Converse as sneaker king.  However, Nike had help in that Converse was the product of a leveraged buy-out and the new owners cut spending on advertising and research & development in order to pay off its mountain of debt.  Nike stepped into the void left by Converse, pioneering technology for leather sneakers and signing endorsement deals with NBA players and colleges, enabling it to build loyalty with a new generation of teens.  The Nike swoosh eventually became the Chuck Taylors of the early 80's. 

It should get interesting as Phil Knight of Nike looks to fend off the challenge from Plank, the mirror image of Knight accept about 30 years younger.  But unlike the early 80's, in Nike Under Armour not only faces a leader with dominant market share, but a company well capitalized, with a "hustler's spirit" and hell bent on not letting lightning strike twice.  Below is a link to the article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/28/AR2009022802064.html?sid=ST2009022802490

 

 

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