XFL Names Under Armour Official Apparel Partner: Can the Two Help Each Other Out?
Under Armour has been named the official apparel partner of the XFL. The alternative football league, back again after a few false starts over the years, signed a multi-year deal with Under Armour, during which time Under Armour will provide the official team uniforms, official sideline apparel, performance apparel, and footwear.
Additionally, Under Armor will be involved in the branding efforts for initiatives like the XFL Under the Lights Flag Football program.
"Under Armour strives to accomplish the same mission we have at the XFL: to elevate the game we all love and the athletes who play it," said XFL chairwoman and owner Dany Garcia in a release. "They have proven their commitment to innovation and utilizing best-in-class technology that increases our athletes' performance and safety. Given the shared ethos between our organizations, and Under Armour's history on the gridiron, I could not be more excited to continue this long-standing partnership."
Today, we're announcing a multi-year partnership with @UnderArmour and welcoming them as a Founding Corporate Partner of the XFL!
That means resources, services, support for XFL businesses and initiatives — uniforms, sideline and performance apparel, youth football, and more. 🤝
— XFL (@XFL2023) February 27, 2023
This is a big deal for Under Armour right now, having had a tumultuous few years.
In 2020, the brand announced that it would end more than 2,000 existing wholesale partnerships to focus on its direct-to-consumer business. That same year, UCLA sued Under Armour for breach of contract, claiming the company led UCLA to believe it was in better financial standing than it was, thus leading them to solidify a $280 million sportswear contract in 2018 before Under Armour failed to deliver payments as agreed.
“Had UCLA known that Under Armour was making false financial statements in violation of law and SEC regulation, and falsely reporing its sales reported from quarter to quarter, UCLA would have never entered into the agreement and/or would have terminated the agreement at a time when other similarly-attractive sponsorship agreements would have been negotiated for UCLA,” the school’s lawsuit said at the time.
Things have changed since then for both the XFL and Under Armour. Now under the watchful eyebrow of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, the XFL is trying to genuinely compete for an audience hooked on the NFL.
“Given the strength and success of building out Project Rock with the Under Armour team over many years, there is no partner I trust more to help our League achieve greatness in its founding season,” Johnson said. “I can attest that Under Armour is a brand created by and made for the hardest worker in the room."
As part of the agreement, Under Armour has been granted the rights to XFL league-wide logos, team logos and work marks, as well as player rights for branded merchandise going forward.
If anyone knows how to market themselves, it's the Rock. The XFL could create a special marketing opportunity, and that would be huge for a brand like Under Armour to once again compete against the Nikes and Adidas of the world. While partnered with a brand looking to take on its own giant in the NFL, it seems like a match made in sports marketing and branding heaven.