Under Armour’s UAA -0.7% next step in fully embracing NBA superstar Stephen Curry launches Dec. 1 with Curry Brand. Leveraging the popularity of the sharp-shooting guard in basketball, but also across multiple sports, Curry Brand will feature a mix of footwear, apparel, and accessories for a growing number of activities. And a percentage of all Curry Brand’s yearly revenue will get invested in under-resourced communities to create safe places to play.
“Curry Brand is all about doing good in everything that we do,” Curry says in a statement. “I’ve tried to embody that in my own actions, and I think it’s also something that other people can really get behind no matter where they are in life or what their goals are, sports or otherwise. We all have the ability to impact the next person and to give back in some way, and that’s more important now than ever before.”
Under Armour, which signed Curry to a footwear sponsorship in 2013, has already given the 31-year-old his own signature shoe, which has crossed over into golf, another of Curry’s favorite sports. The Curry Brand product launch will include a mixture of lifestyle and performance pieces, including a Dec. 11 release of unisex basketball performance footwear. Under Armour says future Curry Brand launches will include running and women’s products.
As part of investing in safe play, Curry Brand hopes to create at least 20 places for youth to play while supporting 125 programs and work to train youth coaches. “We have a shared goal of unlocking play for kids, so that became a natural place for us to focus,” Curry says. “I grew up doing a lot of things to give back to the community with my family — and continue that now — while Under Armour has done so much to support athletes around the world.”
The Curry Brand effort expects to build spaces to learn and grow on and off the court by refurbishing courts and programming, using Curry Brand products to support organizations, and recruit and train coaches. With less than 30 percent of youth ages, 6 to 18 growing up in low-income households participating in organized sports, low-income kids are six times more likely to quit sports because of financial costs.
“Play is a fundamental part of childhood and is critical to development,” says Curry, a three-time NBA champion. “So much of who I am as a person and a leader today is because of playing sports as a kid. I learned the value of hard work, resilience, teamwork, communication, time management — sports teach young athletes so many critical life skills, which is why I’m passionate about making sure everyone has access to these opportunities.”
Patrik Frisk, Under Armour president and CEO, says Under Armour and Curry have a strong partnership because it is “built around shared values.”
Launching Curry Brand draws obvious comparisons to Nike’s NKE +0.3% Jordan Brand. While Curry Brand has yet to launch, Jordan Brand has roughly $3.5 billion in annual revenues, according to Forbes.com, and helps Nike — with its over $37 billion in annual revenue — completely dominate both the performance basketball and basketball lifestyle markets with Nike, Jordan and Converse. Michael Jordan first signed with Nike in 1984. Adidas, Under Armour and, more recently, Puma and New Balance are all fighting to snatch additional pieces of the basketball market.
Under Armour’s $5.3 billion in revenue, according to an income statement, has largely stalled in recent years after seeing incredible growth a few years ago. Adidas has annual revenue, according to an income statement, around $26 billion, with Puma around $6.5 billion, according to a company financial report, and New Balance $4.5 billion, according to Forbes. Under Armour’s rapid rise took the brand to new places in 2014 but the brand started slipping as early as 2016. In 2018 the company started making massive changes to stave off decreasing sales and a loss of interest from younger demographics.
Under Armour hopes the launch of Curry Brand, with a focus on both performance and lifestyle products, along with its mission-oriented bent, gives Under Armour a fresh tactic in the athletic market.