PALMER TOWNSHIP — In spring 2020, Major League Baseball players will take the field wearing Under Armour uniforms, which will mark the first time in more than 15 years that every big-leaguer’s uniform won’t feature a VF Majestic logo.
Jon Harris dropped the Source link in response to the Under Armour x MLB agreement that takes place in 2020. The internet was ablaze with the news yesterday with people making bold statements like, “Under Armour is Embarrassing Nike.” Which is probably one of the dumbest comments I read from a respected journalist. What Jon is discussing in the source link is VF Corp, who has been profiled on this site and I’ve said may be losing ground this year due to the weather (VF owns Majestic, North Face and Timberland), has been looking to move Majestic. I agree with Matt Powell and Jon that this would be the logical move for Under Armour. They keep the production in the US and it leads to consistency in the uniform. I agree with this for a few more reasons as well and one of those reasons was brought up by Matt Powell a few days ago: sports licensing and sportswear.
Athleisure is on the rise and isn’t slowing down. More people are moving towards an active lifestyle. Even here in Memphis we officially have more bike lanes than cities seen as being more progressive and fit. As casual Friday has led to casual weekdays and employers are just as big on sports as their employees, the apparel that allows people to move from work, to working out, to happy hour is becoming more commonplace and growth is taking place beyond just men wearing jerseys. Sportswear is being seamlessly integrated into daily wear and a team logo is becoming equally as common as a brand logo by Nike, UA or Adidas. In short, MLB is losing viewership, but if Under Armour can create new stars prior to them taking over, they can create interest in both the sport and apparel.
What is more important however is that Majestic still has license agreements with the NFL and other sports. Under Armour gains by default these relationships although they don’t have any investment into those sport leagues. Under Armour also has the ability to create homage jerseys and baseball throwbacks to capitalize on America’s pastime and they really need to do this.
I guess it’s easy to speculate and guess, but the deal begins in three years. If Under Armour wants to rekindle excitement they will need to dive in immediately and start creating new heroes, which takes me back to my original issue with UA, marketing. We will see what happens. In the short term, this announcement did very little to inspire confidence in investors. The market didn’t shift on the announcement.