Despite slow growth in its sales, Under Armour remains one of the top sponsors of athletes all over the world. But are they about to lose that, too?
Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank joined CNBC on Tuesday to talk about the company’s sluggish growth and steadily declining shares, expressing confidence in Under Armour after it turned in a second straight quarter of sales lower than expected. But Plank really made headlines when he endorsed President Donald Trump, telling the network he’s a “real asset” to U.S. companies.
“He wants to build things,” Plank said, via GQ. “He wants to make bold decisions and be really decisive. I’m a big fan of people that operate in the world of ‘publish and iterate’ versus ‘think, think, think, think, think’, so there’s a lot that I respect there.”
With the current political climate, it’s hard to imagine those comments won’t come back to bite Plank and Under Armour. Consumers already have pledged to boycott plenty of companies that support Trump, so it seems unwise to do so knowing the repercussions.
But beyond that, UA sponsors some of the biggest names in sports, including Stephen Curry, Tom Brady, Jordan Spieth, Cam Newton, Clayton Kershaw, Lindsey Vonn, Misty Copeland and many, many more. Major League Baseball also struck a deal with Under Armour to supply the league’s uniforms beginning in 2020.
And while every athlete can’t necessarily afford to drop their sponsor at a moment’s notice, their roster includes plenty of people who would have no trouble finding a new deal elsewhere. Under Armour also sponsors a lot of non-American athletes, who might be more likely to ditch a company that supports Trump.
So far, none of the big names have commented on UA’s ties to the president. But you can guarantee they’ll be fielding questions about it soon.
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