Along with the NBA lockout came an inevitable domino effect: Owners and players couldn’t reach an agreement, so the players couldn’t play. Thus, the executives couldn’t sell tickets. The vendors couldn’t push products. The fans had no game action to rehash. The bloggers couldn’t blog (as well). And the critics and sportscasters were forced to push golf, tennis and soccer onto us – like we actually care about that nonsense. Fortunately, the recently agreed upon labor contract should ensure that the worst is behind us. Yes – after what felt like a whopping 149 years (not days), the NBA is finally back. But not all was cause for complaints during the extended offseason. Our beloved sportswear companies, responsible for lacing us up with the finest on-court and off-court accents, couldn’t quit their day jobs. So we were repeatedly reminded that basketball never stops. Word to Nike.
Basketball also never stopped at Under Armour, and the most important news in the company’s history was announced earlier today: UA is now officially marketing partners with the NBA. What exactly does that mean? This partnership enables them to use NBA jerseys and marks in promotions, advertising and in-store executions to promote their footwear.
“Partnering with the NBA allows us to showcase our innovative basketball footwear and roster of young, talented players through a platform that represents the pinnacle of the sport,” says Matt Mirchin, Senior Vice President of Global Sports Marketing at Under Armour in a release.
All of this comes on the heels of the company’s largest basketball campaign to date, the “Are You From HERE?” campaign that began on Nov. 1. Featuring intimate looks at what makes their basketball stars tick, UA showed the purity of the love of the game, expressing it vividly even during the dreadful lockout.
“We continue to be passionate about basketball and our new footwear, and the look, the feel, and sounds of this campaign fit our Brand perfectly,” says Steve Battista, Senior Vice President of Creative at Under Armour. “‘Are You From HERE?’ is more than a literal question about where you’re from, it’s about where you’re coming from. It’s about what’s inside you, what’s empowering you to be better every single day.”
Without question, Phil Knight’s band of marketing gurus retained their title as reigning MVPs of athletic advertisement. However, if one company were a lock for the coveted MIP trophy (or the Kevin Love Award as it should forever be known post-2011) it would have to be Baltimore-based Under Armour. The post-draft acquisitions of the No. 2 and No. 9 picks, Derrick Williams and Kemba Walker, were just the beginning of an impressive offseason for the company poised to protect their house – and trample onto everyone else’s home turf.