Ripken Baseball, Under Armour to form partnership

Two of the best-known sports brands in Maryland - Ripken Baseball Inc. and Under Armour - are forming a business alliance that will be unveiled at a news conference Wednesday at the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards.

Ripken Baseball is a marketing and sales company headed by Orioles Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. Under Armour is a global sports apparel and equipment company whose chief executive officer, Kevin Plank, is a former University of Maryland football player.

While details of Wednesday's announcement were not disclosed, sources familiar with the new partnership said Under Armour will have a substantial presence at Ripken's baseball properties, which include three minor league franchises, in Aberdeen, Augusta, Ga., and Port Charlotte, Fla., and perhaps more importantly, at two youth training facilities in Aberdeen and Myrtle Beach, S.C. The Under Armour brand is particularly appealing to the youth market, the source said.

A division of Babe Ruth League baseball also bears the Ripken name.

For much of Ripken's playing career, he had a business association with Nike, and that relationship continued with Ripken Baseball through the end of last year, a company spokesman said. As part of that arrangement, Nike supplied equipment used in the youth training programs.

On the Ripken Baseball Web site, a full set of Under Armour baseball gear is described as part of the package given to those who participate in the Ripken MLB Experience Camp.

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