Under Armour was founded in 1996 and now, just 14 years later, they have Tom Brady on their team.
The Baltimore-based company announced Monday that Brady signed a multi-year deal with them (his contract with Nike expired last summer, according to Peter King). Beginning in 2011, Brady will "appear in various in-store and advertising promotional campaigns" and "will be wearing Under Armour apparel and footwear for training and will also be debuting a new customized Under Armour Fierce cleat in games in the near future," according to the company's press release.
"Under Armour's everything I was looking for,'' Brady said. "It's cool. It's fun. It's what so many of the kids are wearing, and I like to try to stay cutting-edge. I like the company. I think we've got a lot in common. We both want to stay hungry, stay humble.''
"It's what so many of the kids are wearing, and I like to try to stay cutting-edge." Sigh.
But the real news may be that Brady is also getting a financial stake in the company. "Tom is a shareholder in Under Armour,'' said founder and CEO Kevin Plank. "Equity was a part of our deal. That was important to Tom, that [a stake in the company] was a part of the deal.'' And that may very well be how a company 1/20th the size of Nike was able to land a three-time Super Bowl winner, which lends itself to asking: why don't more companies do that?
It's a question posed by Forbes' Robert Roland, because for the most part, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
I can tell you historically the most lucrative endorsement relationships have involved equity stakes rather than straight fees ... As an agent, I can also tell you that having a brand really activate on behalf of your client is priceless. It helps transform players from paid workers to timeless personalities and usually means that the brand has the athlete's best interests in mind in its planning and decision making.