After a year of definite WINS, Under Armour has another: the sports apparel company recently announced a deal with Major League Baseball. As part of the multi-year apparel and accessories partnership, Under Armour will be licensed to produce MLP products such as t-shirts, sweats and more for Japan’s best-known baseball team — the Yomiuri Giants — to wear in 2015.
The deal was made public at Under Armour’s Harajuku location yesterday by the team and Dome, Corp, which is licensed to sell the company’s products in Japan. After the announcement, Under Armour Baseball tweeted: “Excited to announce our partnership with one of world’s top teams. Welcome to #TeamUA, Yomiuri Giants. #PUSHTHEGAME”
Under Armour is a company that prides itself on “pushing the game.” Earlier in 2014 as we reported, female empowerment got a boost thanks to their “I Will What I Want” ad campaign. Celebrating strong women like ballerina Misty Copeland and model Gisele Bündchen helped the firm break new ground with women, previously its hardest-to-engage audience. Plank told FN of the inclusion of Copeland: “Misty struck a chord that was so authentically Under Armour. Here’s this ultimate underdog, who wasn’t supposed to be here, who didn’t go to the right school, who didn’t come from the right background, didn’t have the right build, but still found a way to overcome and persevere. There is nothing more Under Armour and nothing more American.”
In April, Under Armour made another important step by opening its first shop , referred to as its “brand house,” in New York’s Soho neighborhood. The 10,000-sq.-ft. store is outfitted with the latest product and also has a VIP level to help outfit athletes.
In more recent weeks, the company and its CEO Kevin Plank — who is also FN’s Person of the Year and a Fortune businessperson of the year — have received several more honors, including Yahoo Finance’s company of the year award. Advertising Age also recently named Under Armour its marketer of the year.
“Kevin is always trying to do better,” New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, a brand spokesman and Plank’s good friend, told FN in November. “That’s what drew me to [the brand]. And it’s why the consumer base is so loyal.”