Thursday
Nov052009

Under Armour Kicks In With First Mixed Martial Arts Endorsement Deal 

MMA champ Georges St.-Pierre will be showcased by Under Armour.November 5, 2009: Performance apparel and footwear company Under Armour has signed Mixed Martial Arts welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre to a multi-year endorsement deal. St.-Pierre becomes the first MMA athlete signed by the company. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The deal highlights both the increasing marketing power of MMA and Under Armour's strategy to reach consumers beyond the NFL-MLB-NBA core. Other high-profile MMA participants are becoming more attractive to marketers, such as Randy Couture, who has a deal with venerable boxing company Everlast.

Under Armour said that beginning with the holiday season St.-Pierre would be featured in media for ColdGear performance apparel, which is designed to protect athletes in cold temperatures. Beginning in Spring 2010, he will become the face of its popular BoxerJock and BoxerBrief underwear lines as well as one of the primary faces for its Recharge suit (which the company said is designed to re-energize your body, promote muscle repair and reduce swelling following a workout). Marketing, handled in-house, will include print, Internet, POP and experiential.

Under Armour's list of sports endorsers includes NFL players Ray Lewis, Brandon Jacobs, Devin Hester and Santana Moss; and MLB players Ryan Zimmerman, Nick Markakis and Alfonso Soriano. However, St.-Pierre adds MMA presence to such Under Armour endorsers as downhill skier Lindsey Vonn, lacrosse star Paul Rabil and U.S. Olympic snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis.

"Not only is Georges one of the biggest stars in one of the fastest growing sports in the world, but his dedication to training and making himself the best at what he does aligns perfectly with our brand's mission to make all athletes better," Steve Battista, Under Armour svp-brand, said in a statement. "When we found out that he was a fan of ours, we jumped on the opportunity to bring him into the Under Armour family."

St.-Pierre, also known as GSP, is handled by CAA Sports in conjunction with Shari Spencer, president of GSP Enterprises. "Pairing GSP with Under Armour is a testament to the explosive growth of MMA, and the popularity and cultural relevance of its top fighter, among consumers worldwide," Howard Nuchow, co-head of CAA Sports, said in a statement.

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