Under Armour will provide the game uniforms for all Major League Baseball players beginning in 2020. Here are five thoughts on the new agreement.
It’s a breakthrough for a company that is just 20-years-old.
Under Armour had been nibbling around the edges of the country’s three biggest sports leagues without becoming an official outfitter of game uniforms.
The Baltimore brand outfits top draft prospects at the annual NFL combine, is the title partner of the NBA draft combine and has partnered with the basketball league on a new app. In baseball, Under Armour designs a line of Major League Baseball fan gear and produces cleats, compression sleeves and batting gloves.
But rival Nike outfits NFL players on game days and has a similar apparel agreement in place with the NBA. So this is a milestone for Under Armour.
It’s big-time exposure because of the lengthy season.
None of the other leagues play seasons this long – 162 televised regular-season baseball games for each of 30 teams, then the playoffs and World Series. The season stretches from April until at least the end of October.
One unknown: How big will the interlocking “UA” logo be on the uniforms?
Expect a heavy emphasis on the traditional in uniform design.
Under Armour is known for flourishes, for uniform designs pushing boundaries. But baseball is grounded in its history, and there are certain traditions — think Yankee pinstripes — to be respected. Expect a heavy dose of the traditional blended with some new touches.
Under Armour’s Notre Dame football uniforms might be a guide. The uniforms didn’t depart much from what Irish fans were accustomed to. But, once a year, the company fashions a completely different look for the school’s ‘Shamrock Series” game.
Under Armour loves designing uniforms for special occasions
Speaking of the Shamrock Series, it’s worth noting how much Under Armour seems to relish specialty uniforms. Consider the University of Maryland football uniforms paying homage to the 200th anniversary of the poem that became the national anthem.
The uniforms featured poetry on the helmets and sleeves. Baseball habitually uses throwback uniforms as a nod to its past.
This will help Under Armour feel more “national.”
Born on the East Coast, Under Armour emphasizes high brand recognition in its backyard. By signing universities such as UCLA and Cal-Berkeley, the company has sought to push westward and to expand globally.
Since baseball is truly a national game, Under Armour's partnership may aid in the effort to broaden the brand's identify.