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• Under Armour said this morning that Patrik Frisk, the company’s president and COO, would become its new CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2020. He will also remain president. Company founder, chairman and CEO Kevin Plank, will become executive chairman and brand chief. According to Friske via Under Armour, "The opportunity that lies ahead of us is incredible as our entire global team continues to lean hard into our transformation."

• Sacramento, California's capital city, has been awarded an MLS expansion team with Sacramento Republic FC becoming the league's 29th team and beginning play in MLS in 2022. The club will build a new, $300 million, 20,100-seat soccer stadium in the downtown Railyards District. 

• Octagon and the National Women’s Soccer League have signed a multi-tier consulting partnership, in which Octagon’s Global Media Rights Consulting and Marketing divisions will "advise the NWSL on its league media rights, sponsorship, and marketing." “The growth of the NWSL over the past six years has been tremendous, and the league, its teams and players show absolutely no sign of slowing down,” Christine Franklin, SVP, Marketing, Octagon, said via the firm.

• The Professional Baseball Agreement between MLB and minor league teams expires at the end of the 2020 season. But if a new MLB proposal were to become reality, more than three dozen cities with affiliated minor league teams will lose those teams a year from now and thousands of minor league players will be out of work as well. Full story here.

• "We said there's no chance that's happening. There’s no chance we’ll even discipline him." — NBA commissioner Adam Silver regarding China’s request that the league fire Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey

• "The losses have already been substantial. Our games are not back on the air in China as we speak, and we'll see what happens next. I don't know where we go from here. The financial consequences have been and may continue to be fairly dramatic." — NBA commissioner Adam Silver at the Time 100 Summit on Thursday regarding the league’s on-going situation with China.

• Halloween this year is Oct. 31, and retailers, marketers and consumers are ready for another season of trick-or-treat. Total spend on Halloween 2019 is expected to reach $8.8 billion according to the National Retail Federation, Washington, DC. Full story here. 

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Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2020 Nominees

• Pat Benatar
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• Doobie Brothers
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• Judas Priest
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• MC5
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Most Popular NBA Player Jerseys (based on eBay sales October 2018-October 2019)
1. LeBron James Los Angeles Lakers
2. Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors
3. Kyrie Irving Brooklyn Nets
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks
5. Kevin Durant Brooklyn Nets
6. Dwyane Wade Miami Heat (retired)
7. Kawhi Leonard Los Angeles Clippers
8. Zion Williamson New Orleans Pelicans
9. Carmelo Anthony (most recently with Houston Rockets)
10. Russell Westbrook Houston Rockets

Most Popular Player Merchandise (based on eBay sales October 2018-October 2019)
1. LeBron James Los Angeles Lakers
2. Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors
3. Kevin Durant Brooklyn Nets
4. Kyrie Irving Brooklyn Nets
5. Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks
6. Paul George Los Angeles Clippers
7. James Harden Houston Rockets
8. Dwyane Wade Miami Heat (retired)
9. Kawhi Leonard Los Angeles Clippers
10. Russell Westbrook Houston Rockets
SOURCE: STUBHUB.COM

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Weekend Box Office Oct. 18-20
1. Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil $36M
2. Joker $29.2M
3. Zombieland 2 $26.7M
4. Addams Family $16M
5. Gemini Man $8.5M
6. Abominable $3.5M
7. Downton Abbey $3M
8. Judy $2M
9. Hustlers $2M
10. It 2 $1.5M
BoxOfficeMojo.com

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Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Channel Chasers

NFL UK 2019
• Oct. 27  Cincinnati Bengals v Los Angeles Rams Wembley Stadium
• Nov. 3 Houston Texans v Jacksonville Jaguars Wembley Stadium

NFL Mexico 2019
• Nov. 18 Kansas City  Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers Mexico City Estadio Azteca (ESPN Monday Night Football)

NBA 2019 Opening Nights
• Oct. 22 New Orleans Pelicans vs. Toronto Raptors TNT 8 PM (ET)
• Oct. 22 Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers TNT 10:30 PM (ET)

• Oct. 23 Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers ESPN 8 PM (ET)
• Oct. 23 Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers ESPN 10 PM (ET)

Friday
Jul062012

Q&A: Can Tom Brady, Cam Newton Help Under Armour's Spine Run Over Nike?

By Barry Janoff

July 5, 2012: In 2011, Under Armour broke an advertising campaign with the ominous tag line, "Do you hear footsteps? Or are they hearing yours?"

On July 9, Under Armour will launch a national campaign to support Spine RPM, the company's new line of training and running footwear, with which it intends to have category leaders including Nike and adidas hearing footsteps.

The multi-media effort will star such Under Armour spokespersons as NFL players Tom Brady (New England Patriots), Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers) and Julio Jones (Atlanta Falcons), Olympic snowboarder Lindsey Vonn and Kemba Walker of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats.

The "This is How We Run" campaign will include TV, print, outdoor, Internet, POP and social media. Lead agency is Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Miami.

The product and marketing will seek to extend Under Armour's success in activewear into the performance shoe category, taking direct aim at sales shares dominated by the likes of Nike, adidas, Asics, New Balance and Skechers. The Baltimore-based company said it has grown from $17,000 in revenue in 1996 to $1.47 billion in 2011.

The initial Spine line, now available nationwide, will expand to shoes for basketball, football, baseball and other specific sports, according to the company.

"We shown over the past seven years the need for another footwear company," Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank said during the Spine launch event in New York last month. Plank said the campaign would be the biggest in company history, which industry experts said would put it over $10 million. "Our mission statement is to make all athletes better," said Plank. "To have them do more than they did before they interacted with Under Armour."

Spine RPM has a proprietary spine cage sole design, and weighs in at 9.7 ounces. (MSRP is $99.99 for men's and women's shoes and $79.99 for youth.) By comparison, Nike is scheduled to hit retail this month with Flyknit, a 5.6-ounce running shoe; and adidas has adiZero running shoes that come in as light as 6.7 ounces.

Lightweight running shoes comprise about 25% of the overall running shoe market, up 20% from 2011, according to research and market advisory company SportsOneSource.

NYSportsJournalism spoke with Matt Mirchin, svp-sports marketing for Under Armour, at a recent launch event in New York about the company's aggressive drive to support Spine RPM.

NYSportsJournalism.com: How did the people at Under Armour decide on the best way to get the news about Spine out to the public?

Matt Mirchin: It is a fully integrated campaign. That is what we wanted to accomplish with this. The way our consumers consume media is a little different from the way it was two years ago and certainly from the way it was ten years ago. It was important for us to have a presence on TV, so we will have that 30-second television commercial. But there will also be a massive in-store component, where people will see in-store featuring Tom Brady, Lindsey Vonn, Kemba Walker and Julio Jones. Cam Newton will be a big part of our print and in-store. From the digital and social media perspective, we will have Web site takeovers, major presence on social media destinations and a 60-second spot running online.

NYSJ: The MLB All-Star Game is July 10, and the Olympics begin at the end of the month, so will these events be part of the TV media buy?

MM: Beginning July 9, we are going to to go in a heavy rotation for the three weeks leading up to the Olympics. In the past what we have done is spread out our campaigns over about a 12-week period. This time, we will spend about the same amount of money but in a shorter period, during the three-month period in July. Speaking of baseball, Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals is an Under Armour endorser, and although he won't be part of this campaign, he has been wearing Spine shoes and is a strong advocate of the product. So when we expand in a baseball shoe line, he will be part of the marketing, possibly heading into Spring Training next season.

NYSJ: What is the message that Under Armour wants to convey to consumers?

MM: The great thing about the shoe is that it combines the best of being lightweight and functional. So if you want to go run, and you are going to run three, four, five or ten miles, you can wear these shoes to do that. And if you are going to do any training where you need a more stable shoe, Spine provides you comfort and the lightweight support but also gives you the stability that you need when you train. So we are getting out the message that this is a multi-purpose shoe. You'll see the athletes running and training.

NYSJ: What is the target audience for the shoe?

MM: The same demographic and target audience that buys Under Armour apparel. We want those people to now buy Under Armour footwear. We feel maniacally focused in talking to that target consumer. But what happens is that when we talk to those consumers, their influence spreads. So we certainly anticipate attracting consumers who would be new to Under Armour or who have been undecided about what type of running or training shoe to buy and are drawn to our message and to the quality of our product.

"We want people who buy Under Armour apparel to now buy Under Armour footwear. We feel maniacally focused in talking to that target consumer."

NYSJ: When you look at the category, the big guns are Nike and adidas, and there are other companies that have also carved out space. How does Under Armour plan to make its mark?

MM: Under Armour is a proven performance apparel company that is now getting into performance footwear. We have always had quality products that consumers rely on, so we are taking what we have established and carrying that into shoes. And we are supporting it with athletes who have proven to fans and consumers that they are dedicated to their sports and that they are willing to work hard and do what it takes to succeed.

NYSJ: Was the relatively recent expansion into football and baseball cleats a driving motivation to create performance shoes?

MM: We have had great success with our football and baseball cleats, where we have a significant market share. So we are using the technology and the power of our brand, coupled with the athletes who support us, to expand the brand. Consumers have come to us and come to the retailers that carry our products and asked us to create quality performance shoes. So in many ways we are responding to what consumers have already been asking for. We felt that gave us permission to move into this category.

NYSJ: How important is the social media aspect of your campaign?

MM: Very important. Our consumers are constantly using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media destinations. When we introduced Spine, we had our athletes use Twitter to help get the word out. As the campaign progresses, we will encourage interaction between our athletes and consumers, and also encourage consumers to follow us on social media for information.

NYSJ: Spine is certainly a unique name for a shoe brand. Was that always the working title for the line?

MM: When we were looking at possible concepts, our designers looked at elements in life such as bat wings and helicopter blades. But the human spine was really the element in nature that we felt would translate best into the type of shoe we wanted to create. We actually had a lot of debates over the name, and whether or not Spine was marketable and commercial. One of the strong points is that it is unique and different. Our discussions always came back to the idea that Spine accurately described the shoe, especially when you turn it over and look at the Spine Cage sole. It translates into something that people will remember. And when you go into market with a new product, and when you are seeking to take market share in a crowded category, you want all of those attributes in your favor.

NYSJ: Are you finding that Under Armour comes up in conversations among consumers more often than ever?

MM: I want to answer that as humbly as possible. One of our mottos is 'Stay Hungry. Be Humble.' When you talk to consumers, especially those 18 and older, some prefer our brand, some prefer other brands. But when you get into that seven-, eight-, nine-, ten-year-old consumer, they don't understand that we've only been around for a short period of time. They look at some our competition as being their parent's brands. When they look at the young athletes we have signed — Kemba Walker, Cam Newton, Julio Jones, Bryce Harper, [light-middleweight boxing champion] Saul Alverez — these young consumers look at Under Armour as their brand, as the brand of their generation. Those kids are growing with us, growing up wearing Under Armour apparel and now Under Armour shoes. We are their brand of choice. And that's where we believe we will win.

Under Armour

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