Marketing and Sponsorship

Under Armour unveils new initiatives for bolstering youth sports

Under Armour has introduced new commitments to "improving training and access to sports for teenagers, pledging to help millions of youths by 2030," according to Adrianne Pasquarelli of AD AGE. Efforts include a "new collegiate program with scholarships for historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) beginning next month, new programming aimed at young athletes like female football players starting in March, and a networking program that brings together coaches and kids." The company is debuting new marketing that includes "one anthem spot and additional assets focused on three young athletes." The effort was "created internally" and will include "paid media and TV, digital marketing on the brand's channels, and individual athlete support." This "grassroots approach" to supporting younger players "comes at a time when Under Armour appears to be shifting its strategy away from some of the large college and university sponsorship deals it has pursued in the past." In '20, UA invested $361.6M in "sponsorships, including with professional teams, leagues, colleges and universities and athletes -- nearly 50% less than its 2019 investment." The company confirmed that the new HBCU program "could potentially include some uniform outfitting." UA is currently conducting global research to "look at where young athletes have the most trouble accessing sports and what barriers need to be overcome to help them gain access" (, 1/25).

SBJ Spotlight: TikTok’s threat to traditional sports media

While tech companies are consumed with finding ways to compete with TikTok, almost no one in conventional media “spends any time talking about it,” said Recode senior correspondent Peter Kafka in an Spotlight interview with SBJ’s John Ourand. “To me, that’s just an obvious disconnect.” Kafka authored a recent column headlined, “It’s TikTok’s world. Can TV live in it?” He said the main response to TikTok’s growth from traditional media execs has been to “punt and hope it’s someone else’s problem a quarter from now or two years from now.” But Kafka said that ignores the trend of conventional broadcast audiences growing older while a billion younger consumers spend most of their media time watching short video after short video. “If you’re in the business of getting anyone under the age of 30 to look at what you’re putting on a screen, you have to think about the fact that you’re probably asking them to put down TikTok and watch your thing instead,” said Kafka. “That’s a very difficult ask. … [TikTok] is insanely addictive.”

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