Under Armour, now a $3 billion athletic apparel brand, got the win of its brand life when 19-year old Jordan Spieth won the 2015 Masters Tournament. But not only did he win the tournament, Spieth tied Nike’s brand maestro, Tiger Woods, 18 under par course record. Much of the Masters/Spieth storylines in April helped Under Armour hit a new media rating high, up +1 point at a 79 rating in the very competitive Athletic and Outdoor Apparel Brands sector
For a professional golfer, Jordan Spieth’s media performance has been spectacular over the prior 2-year media period. Spieth’s media rating is up +5 points or +7 percent at a strong 72 rating.
The Under Armour brand has entered a new period of media growth, triggered in November 2013 and continuing almost without any significant decline. Growth has been moderate, but consistent with a 4-year CUME rate of +5% and year-over-year media growth of +8%.
The media trigger in 2013 was no surprise as it was that year when Under Armour’s golf business approached $100 million in sales and the company signed a four-year endorsement deal with Spieth, then 19, before his first professional tournament. But the deal was largely overshadowed when Nike, on the same day, held its global announcement that it had signed star golfer Rory McIlroy.
In January, Under Armour doubled down and signed the young golfer to a new deal lasting through 2025. That means Spieth will wear all Under Armour hats, clothes and shoes for the next decade — and that SportsCenter viewers, his fans and other golfers will be reminded of the company for years to come.
The undisputed leading brand in its sector, Nike, is off -2 points at a 91 rating — really just a slight blip in an otherwise dominant media position. Nike’s relationship with Rory McIlroy is off to a good start given McIlroy’s strong play and continuing media appeal. McIlroy’s media rating is currently at 71, no change from the prior month as his performance in the Masters was overshadowed by Under Armour’s Spieth.
Now I would be remiss if I did not include media rating numbers for the Tiger Woods, one of Nike’s top endorsed athletes. From a media perspective, Woods remains the leading professional golfer in his sector, and also the top athlete brand in our broader Male Athletes Sector. His rating is still just above 80 points, at 81. From a media development point of view, his metric is off -2 points this month and continues to show weakness over the prior 4-year media period.
The momentum (MACD) chart suggest that the Tiger Woods brand may be building some coverage momentum, but storylines are about inconsistent play, the starts/stops in his tournament play, and some references to his girlfriend, Lindsey Vonn. Not surprisingly, Vonn benefited from her association with Tiger Woods, with the references bumping her media rating up +2 points or 5 percent to 51.