By Barry Janoff
September 9, 2015: In an effort to make what they see as a winning combination even better, the NFL and Under Armour have signed a multi-year extension of their NFL Scouting Combine deal, which dates back to 2009.
The agreement means that Under Armour maintains "exclusive rights as the NFL Scouting Combine's official apparel outfitter," and also will unveil an "expanded line of officially licensed Combine apparel for consumers."
Separately, Baltimore-based Under Armour is seeking to go where no other sports apparel and shoe company has gone before via an endorsement deal with 20th Century Fox to support the upcoming movie, The Martian.
Astronaut Mark Watney — played by actor Matt Damon — is outfitted in Under Armour gear in a new spot for the film, which is scheduled to hit theaters on Oct. 2.
According to an Under Armour press release, dated Sept. 9, 2035, Watney states, "As brands go, I can't think of a better partner for this mission. Their mantra of hard work and accomplishment speaks to everything it means to become an astronaut."
In the release, Watney claims that the "constant repetition of drills and training and preparation is as much a battle of the self as it is against the challenges themselves. For an organization that embraces the 'I Will' attitude, they're the perfect company to help us press forward."
The film follows Watney as he seeks to survive the harsh conditions on Mars after accidentally being stranded there by his crew.
The Under Armour spot, "Leave Your Mark," sees Walberg as Watney training in the brand's gear. It ends with the text, "Under Armour, official training partner of the Ares Program," referencing the NASA program in The Martian.
Support includes Internet and social media (#JourneyToMars)
The NFL Scouting Combine is held annually in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, where more than 300 college football players eligible for that year's draft are evaluated by executives, coaching staffs, player personnel and medical personnel from all 32 NFL teams
The seven-day 2016 Scouting Combine is scheduled for Feb. 23-29.
In 2015, NFL Media said it provided exclusive multi-platform coverage of the NFL Scouting Combine for the 11th year, including live coverage on NFL Network. It was the most-watched Combine to date, according to the NFL.
"We are excited to build on our long-standing partnership with the NFL and to further strengthen our presence as the official outfitter of the NFL Scouting Combine," Adam Peake, Under Armour's evp-global marketing, said in a statement. "The NFL Scouting Combine is the biggest moment of these young athletes' lives, and it aligns with Under Armour's mission to break new barriers in performance and innovation.
"We also have the ability to connect all fans to the Combine and to be an authentic partner in training through our new team-specific gear offerings," said Peake.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
In addition to the consumer line, Under Armour Scouting Combine activation includes TV spots, Internet and social media.
According to Christopher Halpin, svp-consumer products for the NFL, "Through our new agreement, we are jointly making investments to grow and enhance the Combine, while serving our fans through an expanded line of Combine apparel and accessories.
"Whether a potential first-round pick or a long-time NFL fan, everyone has fitness goals, and we want the Combine line to support the NFL community in achieving them," said Halpin.
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