Under Armour has agreed to become a sponsor of the New York Cosmos, a North American Soccer League (NASL) franchise best known for Pele’s stint with the team in the 1970s.
This is the very first sponsorship deal of Under Armour with a professional US football (soccer) team. The Baltimore based firm, now second sports brand in the US after having overtaken adidas, is keeping the leadership momentum going.
What does the US football landscape look like? It’s quite simple really. Nike is the official supplier of athletic wear, training gear, uniforms and footwear for U.S. football, including the national men’s and women’s teams, while adidas sponsors Major League Soccer and therefore all its franchises.
Under Armour’s deal with Cosmos is interesting at many levels. First of all brand presence. Although Cosmos play in the second tier league, it is still…..Cosmos. The club that brought football to North America with the likes of Pelé, Beckenbauer, and others. Cosmos still have a strong fast base in the US, especially on the east coast. Having a football brand presence on the US football map is not easy and Under Armour made it.
Next, consistency. Under Armour has deals with Tottenham Hotspur, Colo-Colo or Sao Paulo FC to name a few. Securing another key football asset shows consistency, and the question is “who’s gonna be next”?
Under Armour will outfit the team’s players on the field and in training, Cosmos chief operating officer Erik Stover said in an interview. The deal, for which financial terms weren’t disclosed, follows Under Armour’s announcement this week that it would provide the “official match ball” for NASL games.
The deal may help elevate the Cosmos’ profile, including through jersey sales, Stover said. “From the commercial side of things, there’s a lot of upside for us,” he said. “Under Armour is able to help us with distribution in New York and globally.”
Today’s Cosmos franchise is a second incarnation of the original team that debuted in the NASL in 1970. Pele, the legendary and globally known soccer player, joined the club five years later, elevating it to the upper echelon of American sports and celebrity.
“There’s interest with Under Armour in a legacy or heritage that you can’t do with anyone else in the U.S.,” Stover said. [Source: Bloomberg]
I often mention Under Armour’s rapid growth in football, and that we are no longer in a two horse race. That deal outlines just that.
The new uniforms will be unveiled in New York on March 16.