Nike vs. Under Armour National Championship

In the competitive world of competitive sports, one name has always stood out above the rest, Nike. Yesterday, Nike’s brand baby U of Oregon took on Auburn in the BCS National Championship football game.

Leading up to the game was an abundance of marketing stunts by both sides to get the upper hand in raising support for their team/brand. Sunday night, Nike was projecting the U of O logo across Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, while Under Armour Auburn ads adorned nearly every billboard surrounding University of Phoenix stadium where the game will be played.

From a marketing perspective, advantage Nike.

Based on the number of logos on the entire uniform, Under Armour — which usually has 17 logos on Auburn’s star QB Cam Newton — will get $5.3 million in equivalent advertising from the game broadcast, while Nike will see $3.1 million in exposure, according to Front Row Marketing, a sponsorship evaluation firm.

Nike NKE is up .64 or .77% the day of the game, the largest shoe and apparel brand in the world, outfits Oregon, while Under Armour UA 55.22 is up 1.67 or 3.12% the day of the game, which hit $1 billion in sales for the first time in 2010, covers Auburn head to toe in its interlocking UA logo.

The day following the national championship, Nike’s stock price fell a mere .15 points, or .18%. While Under Armour’s stock price fell .83 points, or 1.5%! So what does that mean about winning the National Championship? Just from one day, we can’t say. The prices just went up then right back down.

The question becomes, will this game really makes dollars and sense for the winner and effect the loser in the long run?

This is how we see it, the game outcome will not effect Nike more than Nike can make in 5 minutes of operation. The brand is just too strong, the only negative outcome was in Phil Knights pride. On the other side, for Under Armour, winning the game with Cam Newton’s smile surrounded by UA logos can be a great platform for a new ad campaign aimed at championships over the previous best, I can already see it happening in my mind.

However, if after all this hype about winning the game Cam Newton decides to sign with another brand come post-draft, Under Armour can kiss the good marketing from this game goodbye. In fact, it might even lose more credibility than if Auburn had lost the game. Don’t think for a second that Nike won’t try to steal him away from UA either. Adidas did more than Nike for LeBron James during his high school years and when the final negotiations wrapped up, Adidas wasn’t even in the conversation.

Although a win would not have meant a lot for Oregon, it means a lot for Under Armour, showing that their brand is coming for the top, and Nike better watch out.

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