The shrewdest of deals?
“Thanks to Jordan, our company grew up today.” That comment, by Kevin Plank, CEO and founder of Under Armour, is perhaps an understatement. In fact, the brand’s ROI from its partnership with new Masters champion Jordan Speith, would seem to be nothing short of phenomenal. A glance at its share price shows a rise of 2% and its golf line is already a best seller online. Oh, and that’s not to mention over $33 million in US TV exposure over the four days at Augusta. Shrewd business? We say, that’s the power of sponsorship!

What other marketing tool can elevate a brand to such a degree over the course of just a few days?

They believed in him
The best sponsorships are true partnerships, built on trust and respect. Under Armour started courting Spieth in 2012 and has officially backed him since he turned Pro. Motivated by his performance in his first two years – which included becoming the youngest American to play in the Ryder Cup – Under Armour extended its four-year deal, to ten years, in January of this year. Despite signing Hunter Mahan in 2003, Under Armour barely had a presence in golf three years ago. The company has doubled its golf business since it signed Spieth.

Belief backed by strategy
The best sponsorships require a degree of risk and invention. They are underpinned with clear and purposeful strategy, centred on good fit. In Under Armour’s case they got it spot on. The brand’s market positioning is that of the underdog, a strategy that greatly appealed to Spieth upon signing; “I looked at myself as the underdog, I still do. Rory (McIlroy) set the bar, and I’m the underdog trying to chase them.”

This strategy not only differentiates Under Armour from its competitors, but has helped to turn it into one of the largest selling sportswear companies in the US. Last year Under Armour ($3bn) overtook Adidas to become the second biggest apparel brand behind Nike ($27bn).


Turning star appeal into sales
A shrewd piece of business built on a shrewd strategy. But it gets better. The apparel Spieth wore at the Masters is from the mainstream apparel range. By the time the golfer was pulling on the famous green jacket, consumers were able to buy the clothing he wore during his incredible few days, both online and in store. The company had already shipped additional product in anticipation of greater demand from its retail partners.

He believes in them
The Spieth / Under Armour sponsorship is partnership in its purest sense. Spieth was courted and backed by a sponsor that believed in him. In return, the brand has benefitted from a partnership that is credible; built on respect with a clear vision of where it is going. As Spieth himself said “Under Armour, that’s kind of been their grit, being the underdog, finding out-of-the-box ways to innovate, to get things done. And their growth in golf is going to be phenomenal. They showed so much trust in me.”

Well said Jordan.

Photo courtesy of:
Google Trends graph as tweeted by Tim Crowe, CEO Synergy Sponsorship