Under Armour to be presenting sponsor of NBA Draft Combine, expand role within league

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Under Armour got its foot in the door with the NBA.

The company has wanted to expand its role with the league — most notably it has a shoe deal with Stephen Curry — but weren’t a lot of opportunities, especially after Nike outbid everyone to take over making the official NBA jerseys and apparel starting in 2017 (Adidas does it now). Samsung is the naming sponsor for Summer League. What was left?

The NBA Draft Combine.

Which will be the Under Armour NBA Draft Combine starting in 2018, the league and Under Armour announced Monday. The company will be allowed to develop and market apparel based on the combine as part of this deal. Also, the shoe company will help market and grow the Jr. NBA, the league’s youth basketball program.

The NBA combine is not a huge marketing event (unlike the NFL version). However, now before guys get to put on an NBA jersey, they are going to put on Under Armour gear.

For the NBA, this is an opportunity to grow their youth program and introduce a new NBA Fit app, which will be tied in with Under Armour’s Connected Fitness devices and products.

“We’re proud to expand our partnership with the NBA and continue our shared commitment to help basketball players everywhere realize their potential, on and off the court,” Adam Peake, Executive Vice President of Under Armour said in a statement.  “The new elements of our partnership will allow Under Armour to leverage our leadership in athletic performance innovation and Connected Fitness to foster the worldwide growth of basketball.”

“Under Armour and the NBA share a commitment to basketball, fitness, and healthy living,” Emilio Collins, NBA Executive Vice President, Global Marketing Partnerships, said in a statement.  “Together we have a unique opportunity to teach the values of the game to millions of kids through the Jr. NBA program, and to give our fans the latest information on exercise and wellness through the NBA FIT app.”

It’s a good effort by Under Armour — there simply were not many options to get an expanded role with the NBA, and certainly not where they could make apparel. But they found one.

They got their foot farther in the door.