Sportswear giant Under Armour is dumping its licensing contracts with the National Football League, according to Front Office Sports.
The company axed its deal for NFL players to wear its products on the field, making the coming 2021 season the first in years that Under Armour logos will not appear on the field for years, according to a recent issue of the Front Office Sports email newsletter.
Under Amour’s move comes on the heels of the company’s exit from several other high-profile sports leagues, as well.
Under Armour asked to end its $85 million deal with the University of California (Cal), and also cut ties with UCLA after ending its 15-year, $280 million deal with that school. The company also paid off the University of Cincinnati to exit is 10-year, $50 million deal.
That is not all. Under Armour also backed out of its $50 million deal with Major League Baseball.
Under Armour has re-affirmed its contract with Super Bowl-bound superstar Tom Brady, but other athletes are reportedly re-evaluating their individual deals with the sportswear company.
The company says that it is retooling its reputation, veering away from expensive professional sports league deals, and looking to burnish its reputation as a “performance brand.”
The move comes on the heels of several years of cratering TV ratings across all professional sports.
2020 was a disastrous year for TV ratings for nearly every pro sport. The U.S. Open lost 56 percent of its viewers over 2019. Basketball suffered greatly, as well. The NBA finals were down 49 percent over last year. Tennis’ Open also cratered, losing 45 percent over 2019’s games. But the worst of all was Hockey’s Stanley Cup. The NHL’s big game lost a whopping sixty percent over the 2019 championship series.
The NFL has also suffered collapsing TV viewership and was down at least seven percent over last year. It has been so consistently bad this year that advertisers are starting to rise to demand concessions for their high advertising spending since viewership has been falling each week.
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