It’s no secret that Under Armour (UA) has picked some winners in the past, but 2015 has been a particularly huge year for the active wear apparel brand. Jordan Spieth has won The Masters and the US Open Championship this year. Stephen Curry not only won the MVP Award, but also the NBA Championship. Tom Brady, certainly the most well-known athlete that Under Armour sponsors, won the Super Bowl. And pitcher Clayton Kershaw became the first player to win the MVP and Cy Young Award in the same season in nearly half a century. Notable athletes also signed with Under Armour include Washington Nationals’ superstar Bryce Harper, Michael Phelps, Lindsey Vonn, Julio Jones, Vernon Davis, and Brandon Jennings.
Since Under Armour was first created in 1996, the company has gone from $17 thousand in yearly revenue to $3 billion in yearly revenue. In 2014, it passed Adidas AG (ADDYY) as the second best-selling sports apparel brand in the United States.
But is Under Armour’s recent success the result of these successful athlete signings, and the fans they bring with them? To figure out if there’s a correlation, we can examine how the stock has performed in the wake of some of their athlete’s most impressive accomplishments in the last year.
2014 National League MVP
Chronologically, this is the one to start with. In November of 2014, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw became the first player in over 50 years to win the MVP Award as a pitcher. This was an incredible personal achievement for Kershaw, and it certainly didn’t hurt Under Armour. News that Kershaw had been awarded the MVP broke on the night November 13, 2014. On that day, shares of Under Armour closed at $69.05.
To see how the news affected the share price, we can look at the price of Under Armour the next day. By the end of the day on Friday, November 14, shares had only appreciated by 10 cents to $69.15. What’s more, the stock actually went down a little the following Monday. Therefore, there is no clear connection between Kershaw’s MVP and the stock price.
Super Bowl 49 MVP
On February 1, 2015, the New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks to win the Super Bowl. Tom Brady was instrumental in their victory throwing for four TD passes and over 300 yards. Shares of Under Armour closed on Friday, two days before the Super Bowl, at $72.08. On February 2, shares depreciated, closing at $71.95. The following day they increased to $72.83 and stayed around these levels for a week after the Super Bowl. So again, the Super Bowl didn’t seem to have an effect on Under Armour’s stock.
2015 Masters Champion
On April 12, Jordan Spieth cemented himself as a force to be reckoned with in the game of golf becoming the youngest player to ever win the Masters at 21. On Friday April 10, the second day of play at the Masters, shares closed at $83.75. On April 13, the day after Spieth won the Masters, shares closed at $85.11.
This 1.6% gain is the biggest we have seen so far in terms of correlation between athlete performance and share price. Unlike the previous instances though, Under Armour’s price continued to grow for a full week after the Masters reaching a peak of $87.76 by the following Monday April 20, a 4.7% gain from April 10.
Therefore, Spieth’s big performance at the Masters quite possibly did have a positive effect on Under Armour’s stock.
The Golden State Warriors point guard has had a meteoric rise in the NBA. He went from an injury prone player to a good player, to an MVP and NBA Champion. Nike famously dropped Curry when he was down, and Under Armour swooped him up. It was a hell of an investment. Curry was announced as the MVP on May 4. Under Armour’s share did nothing in the period. They hovered around the same price so it’s safe to say that event didn’t have a large effect on the stock price.
Stephen Curry and Jordan Spieth
NBA Champion and 2015 US Open Champion
These final two events are included together because they happened within five days of one another. On Tuesday, June 16, Curry’s Warriors completed 4-2 series win against a depleted Cavaliers team at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. On June 21, Spieth won the US Open Championship at Chambers Bay Course in Washington.
On June 16, Under Armour’s stock closed at $82.78. The following day, after the Warriors won the championship, the stock actually decreased slightly to $82.64, but the stock picked up momentum as the week went on closing at $83.18 on Friday June 19. On June 22, the day after Spieth won the US Open, the stock shot up to $84.90. The gains continued into Tuesday June 23 when the stock closed at $85.39, gaining 2.7% in value between the 19 and 23.
Spieth is the Mover and Shaker
Based on the movement of Under Armour’s stock after one its athletes gets a major personal accomplishment, it’s safe to say that the only player that has any impact at all on its share price is Jordan Spieth. This isn’t too surprising. Spieth is the hottest name in golf right now. People are convinced he’s the next Tiger Woods, and with the performances he’s put up in the last three major tournaments, it’s hard to argue against that point. Because Under Armour signed him when he was completely unknown, they have gotten their biggest return on him. Not only that, Spieth opens up an entirely new market to Under Armour. They aren’t known for making golf apparel, but with the success of Spieth, they should be able to move into the market.
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