Under Armour Inc. is going back to school for growth — again.
The company inked a 15-year exclusive deal to outfit the University of California, Los Angeles’ 25 men’s and women’s varsity teams. It’s the largest apparel deal in NCAA history.
The Baltimore-based athletic brand will design and supply footwear, apparel and equipment for training and game day uniforms, beginning July 2017.
Under Armour said the connection would strengthen its brand impression and that the company would “continue to expand its West Coast footprint with a commitment to open new retail locations in the greater Los Angeles area — including on L.A.’s Westside — and offer annual internship opportunities at the brand’s Baltimore-based global headquarters for university students.”
Kevin Plank, Under Armour’s founder and chief executive officer, said the brand’s “commitment to growth through innovation and an unwavering mission to make all athletes better aligns seamlessly with UCLA and the pioneering figures that helped build the program, and we look forward to reaching new heights with the Bruins.”
Dan Guerrero, UCLA’s director of athletics, added that, “UCLA has always been about challenging the status quo and breaking through barriers. Under Armour shares those core values. They are about more than simply making athletes look good, they constantly pursue innovation in order to make athletes better.”
UCLA marks Under Armour’s 35th Division I all-school partnership.
Under Armour has been on a growth tear — first-quarter revenues grew 30 percent to $1.05 billion — but it also faces tough completion from other entrenched athletic brands, particularly Nike.
The hard-charging company has also seen some turnover lately.
Chief merchandising officer Henry Stafford is leaving in July after a six-year run at the company, in which he led its apparel business and also served as president of North America.
The company also recently named Michael Lee as chief digital office, taking over from Robin Thurston.