Under Armour Scores Big At NFL Scouting Combine
By Tim Richardson
While it wasn't at the Super Bowl, a Baltimore-based powerhouse dominated at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, as Under Armour served as the presenting sponsor of the NFL Scouting Combine for the fourth consecutive year.
From Feb. 22-28, more than 300 prospects underwent physical and mental tests in front of NFL brass. For Under Armour, it's a natural fit to be involved with an event during which athletes push themselves to the limit.
"The NFL Combine provides Under Armour the ability to partner with the NFL with one of their premier properties," said Matt Mirchin, Under Armour's senior vice president of global sports marketing, "and to interact with athletes at the top of their game, provide them with state-of-the-art gear and innovative products that help them perform."
In 2011, Under Armour showcased its E39 shirt, which measures breathing rate, heart rate and horsepower. Last month, it also outfitted athletes with its Highlight Cleat and UA Baselayer.
"The Highlight Cleat provides a shockingly light, super-streamlined, fully locked-in fit for speed and maximum support," Mirchin said. "The secret weapon is the CompFit construction, the latest UA footwear innovation. With incredible support and feel around your ankle, you'll change direction and fly downfield better than ever before. UA NFL Combine Baselayer promotes mobility, protects muscles and helps athletes perform faster and stronger."
Under Armour's innovation at the Combine wasn't limited to apparel. It created the hashtag, #ThisIsYourArmour, and turned its Twitter handle over to various experts.
"We definitely see an increase in brand awareness as a result of our activations around the event," Mirchin said. "Our Twitter following grew over 22 percent, which was attributed to our Twitter takeover with trainer Todd Durkin and Hall of Famer Deion Sanders. Additionally, we released exclusive behind-the-scenes content from the 'Cam's Night Out' campaign commercial shoot on our UA Football Facebook page, which grew over 23 percent in less than one week."
The Combine also allows Under Armour to increase its brand exposure via must-see TV. According to SportsBusiness Daily, the NFL Network drew 6.6 million viewers for its 2011 coverage.
"I think the fervor over the Combine is really an extension of the country's overall love of football," NFL Network reporter Jason La Canfora said, "and is another way to feed that need for year-round NFL content. Frankly, it's good TV."
Sponsoring the NFL Combine allows Under Armour to reinforce its position as a leader in innovation and performance. Through its long-term partnership with the NFL, Under Armour is also able to bring products used during the Combine to retailers with a newly created NFL/UA Combine logo.
Who knew that fans would be captivated watching the 40-yard dash? Well, Under Armour, for one.
Posted March 5, 2012