Can Stephen Curry Propel Under Armour Past Nike?
Under Armour exploded onto the sports scene back in the mid-90s and has quickly become one of the top sports brands in the world according to Forbes. Back in January of this year the Wall Street Journal reported that Under Armour surpassed Adidas to become the #2 sports apparel brand in the U.S. for the first time.
While Nike might seem to have an insurmountable lead in the basketball market - they currently control 90% of the market share in the U.S. basketball shoe market with the Nike and Jordan brands - an NBA Championship by Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors would put a major dent in Nike’s dominance. An NBA title coupled with the success of Under Armour sponsored Jordan Spieth at the Master’s is why many sports industry analyst are bullish on the company going forward. Both Curry and Spieth are young, energetic marketing phenoms that are beloved by millions of fans.
Millennial Sports Fans Can’t Get Enough of Curry
Millennials in particular can’t seem to get enough of these two rising stars. They are gobbling up Stephen Curry’s #30 jersey making it the NBA’s second best-seller this season behind Lebron James. In describing Curry one of my students recently wrote:
“Until last year, Steph Curry was only a blimp on the radar, now he is the radar. Steph Curry in my opinion is the best player in the league. He is an all around great, he has hardly any flaws in his game. But what makes him a great player is his attitude. I love Curry because of his demeanor and the way he carries himself. He is a family man and keeps the Lord first in life. He is not only an MVP on the court, but an MVP off of it too.”
Sports properties and leagues are fiercely competing for millennial fandom. There are close to eighty-two million millennials in the U.S. alone and they represent roughly 40% of the avid sports fan market. With over $200 billion in annual buying power and the influence they wield over older generations, its no wonder why sports business executives exert so much effort in reaching this generation.
If Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors go on to win the NBA Championship, we may one day look back to the spring of 2015 as the watershed moment in the battle for supremacy in the U.S. athletic apparel market.
This blog post was written in conjunction with Shaun McCormack, Brock School of Business student at Samford University.