Under Armour taps Olympic gold medallist Teddy Riner to conquer French market
Under Armour has launched a fully fledged attack on France and Europe. The Baltimore brand, which ranks second in the US sports market behind Nike and ahead of Adidas, has signed up French Olympic judo gold medallist Teddy Riner as brand ambassador, to spearhead its expansion in France, where the business will now be run by a subsidiary.
While the French Judo Federation has just signed a sponsoring deal with Mizuno, the 27 year-old Olympian has left Adidas, whose colours he flew for 10 years, to join Under Armour. The double Olympic champion and eight-times world champion in the over 100 kg category joins the posse of international sporting stars sponsored by Under Armour, including NFL legend Tom Brady, NBA star Steph Curry, British and world tennis no. 1 Andy Murray and the top model Gisele Bündchen.
"His ambition and fighting spirit chime perfectly with Under Armour's culture and values, at a time when we are fast developing our brand and business in France," enthused Chris Bate, Vice-President and General Manager Europe for Under Armour.
The brand was launched in 1996 in the USA by Kevin Plank, starting with a simple compression tee-shirt, and helped by Teddy Riner it now wants to gain a firm hold on the French market. For this purpose, Under Armour has created a French subsidiary in December 2016, whose offices in Boulogne-Billancourt will open next spring.
"The strategy, said Raphaël Lefort, in charge of southern Europe for Under Armour since 2016 (a post created to bolster the brand’s European expansion), is to attack the French market by capitalising on our training line, a segment in which we want to become number one."
Besides in France, Under Armour is keen to speed up its expansion across the whole of Europe too. According to Spanish sport magazine Marca, Under Armour, currently the outfitter of Premier League team Southampton, is reportedly negotiating to supplant Adidas at continental football giants Real Madrid. If the deal will go through, it will be a major European coup for the US brand.
In 2016 Under Armour generated a worldwide revenue of $4.8 billion (€4.55 billion), equivalent to a 22% rise. In the same period, its sales outside the USA skyrocketed, increasing by 63% and now accounting for 15% of the brand's global business.
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