sporting brands

Under Armour Looks to Take a Bite Out of FuelBand Success with MapMyFitness Acquisition

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 15, 2013 12:51 PM

It's no longer enough to just go for a run. Athletes and first-steppers alike are more data driven than ever, feeding off of fitness apps that tell them how many steps they've taken, their heart rate, calories burned and so on. After all, if it can be measured, it can be improved.

Following the runaway success of personal fitness trackers like Nike's FuelBand, main competitor Under Armour has announced that it has acquired MapMyFitness for about $150 million. It may not have cost UA too much, but the addition of the new technology will lift the company to a whole other level in the fitness business.

The one differentiator that will set UA apart (and perhaps above) competitors? MapMyFitness analyzes data from multiple mobile device brands and operating systems, unlike Nike's FuelBand, which works exclusively with Apple's iOS.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Critics Blitz Dr. Oz Over NFL Endorsement Despite Head Injuries

Posted by Dale Buss on November 1, 2013 04:14 PM

When it comes to the National Football League and the sport of football, apparently TV uber-physician Mehmet Oz is making his affinities clear. And in doing so, some observers believe he's doing everything short of violating the Hippocratic Oath.

Oz is one of the celebrities who is participating in the new NFL advertising campaign, "Together We Make Football," which is a series of odes to the sport and how important it is to the lives of rank-and-file Americans. It's part of a broad effort by league stewards to move past what some have cast as an existential crisis for the game because of head injuries and their medical legacy.

"When my son Oliver told us he wanted to play football, we were thrilled," he says on-screen. "It was a rite of passage.... The game started, and sure enough he tackled this kid. My jaw dropped and then the loudspeaker said, 'Tackle, Oliver Oz.' That I think is a memory he'll never forget. Certainly his father won't."Continue reading...

sporting brands

In China, Under Armour Looks to Brand the Workout Experience

Posted by Kristen Van Nest on October 29, 2013 07:07 PM

Earlier this month, Under Armour introduced a completely different retail concept to the Chinese sporting apparel market—a market that has proven hard to crack even for the most seasoned retail veterans, including Nike and Adidas. But Under Armour's new Shanghai retail theater experience aims to do much more than just sell clothes and sneakers. 

Located in the Jing An Kerry Centre, the store features a 270-degree screen that covers 90 percent of the relatively small boutique, encapsulating store-goes in the sights, sounds and experiences of athletic training—a truly foreign concept in China and greater Asia. 

In China, especially, working out is not a common activity. Seeing joggers is a rarity and oftentimes in the gym, Chinese are seen wearing jeans or leather shoes as opposed to sporting apparel. Sports participation is also low due to lack of time, the single child policy, and limited governmental support to popularize sports. But, there is still huge market potential; after the Beijing Olympic Games, there has been dramatic growth in sporting brands. 

Still, the market has proven difficult, with Nike, Adidas, and others struggling to localize their retail approach to fit the unique needs of Chinese consumers, both young and old. In fact, Nike and Adidas have spent much of their time in the country with a hard focus on building a lifestyle brand around young consumers, capitalizing on consumer trends towards creativity and self-expression. Still, Nike recently saw a three percent decline in its China sales while it experienced an increase in all other geographic locations.Continue reading...

sporting brands

LeBron James Teams With Old Pals Nike and Samsung for NBA Season Opener

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 28, 2013 06:33 PM

The NBA season kicks off Tuesday night with the defending champion Miami Heat versing the Chicago Bulls, and if LeBron James' latest Nike ad has anything to say about it, it seems that James is feeling pretty carefree heading into another season.

The new TV commercial, titled "Training Day," follows James riding his bike through the streets of Miami, all along collecting a troupe of neighborhood kids like a scene out of Rocky II.

James, wearing his new LeBron XI shoes, is seen heading to the arena to practice some shots, the beach for a swim, and ending at the playground to play some pickup with the kids.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Team USA Kicks Off Road to Sochi With Brand Sponsors in NYC's Times Square

Posted by Dale Buss on October 28, 2013 05:32 PM

NBC already has indicated it will enjoy a record haul for US TV advertising during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. But the job for brand sponsors of the Games and athletes has only begun on their path to the opening of the games on February 7.

Top-tier marketers including Coca-Cola, P&G, Target, and Kellogg's are signing up to sponsor Team USA athletes as well as trying to navigate the increasingly icy waters around Sochi regarding the tendency of the Russian government to violate human rights and LGBT rights.

On Tuesday, the US Olympic Committee will kick-off a 100-Day Countdown campaign featuring Team USA in Times Square in New York, hoping to recreate the excitement of 2012's Road to London event (at top) with the Liberty Mutual-sponsored Road to Sochi (#RoadtoSochi) tour.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Manchester United vs. Real Madrid: ManU Reels as Rival Wheels and Deals

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 28, 2013 12:09 PM

English Premier League champs Manchester United once again found the club tied to some unsavory folks. In an email to fans about its young players with the subject line “New Order,” the team’s initials were designed in such a way that the design resembled the Nazi swastika.

As an uproar ensued, ManU was forced to quickly apologize on Saturday for the unintended affront in its weekly email. "The creative is completely inappropriate,” the club’s head of media, David Sternberg, commented to The Guardian. “We apologise unreservedly and are taking appropriate internal action."

While some outraged fans let the team have it on Twitter, others didn’t see the swastika image in the revised logo and wondered why ManU had bothered to issue an apology. 

While evidently still unclear how the creative was designed and approved, the team may be a little sensitive to the issue since the publication of Bill Buford’s 1990 book, Among the Thugs, chronicled the misadventures of ManU fans, some of whom were attached to the far-right, whites-only political party, the National Front.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Yankees Bid Farewell to One of Sport's Greatest Brands

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 27, 2013 01:08 PM

Failing to make a playoff bid, the New York Yankees will head into the offseason to ponder a question it hasn't had to think twice about in nearly 17 years: Who will be the closer? On Thursday night, the team, along with a sell-out crowd, bid farewell to legendary pitcher Mariano Rivera, who, after spending the entirety of his career with the famed organization, pitched his last inning at home in the Bronx. 

In 19 seasons, Rivera has earned more saves than any pitcher in MLB history, has pitched 141 postseason innings in which he only gave up 11 runs, and earned five World Series championships. He is the greatest closer who ever lived, and the Yankees and Major League Baseball have done their part to make sure he will be remembered as such.Continue reading...

sporting brands

FIFA Investigating Slavery Allegations in World Cup Host Nation, Qatar

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 26, 2013 05:45 PM

When soccer’s international governing body, FIFA, awarded Qatar with the 2022 World Cup, there was some concern about the country's summer heat that reaches well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. But it turns out that Qatar's brutal heat will be the least of FIFA's problems.

The Guardian reports that 44 Nepalese migrant workers died between June 4 and August 8 due to "modern-day slavery" conditions they were forced to endure. Fellow laborers told the paper that they're working extremely long hours without food and money, living in squalor and have been prevented from leaving the country. 

"We were working on an empty stomach for 24 hours; 12 hours' work and then no food all night," Ram Kumar Mahara told the paper. "When I complained, my manager assaulted me, kicked me out of the labor camp I lived in and refused to pay me anything. I had to beg for food from other workers."Continue reading...

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