In the world of sports endorsements few deals have had the magnitude of impact as Michael Jordan’s partnership with Nike in 1984. Fast forward to 2013 when another basketball sensation Steph Curry made a significant move by signing a $4 million per year deal with Under Armour (UA). Former Nike executive Sonny Vaccaro boldly compared Curry’s decision to Jordan’s iconic move and here’s why this comparison holds weight.
Steph Curry a name synonymous with three point shooting excellence was initially a Nike athlete when he entered the NBA in 2009. However by 2013 his contract with Nike had run its course. Nike still had hopes of resigning him but Curry’s rising star was not their priority at the time.
At this juncture few could have predicted Curry’s meteoric rise to superstardom. He had faced ankle problems early in his career and many doubted his future success. Nike perhaps underestimating his potential failed to match Under Armour’s offer of an estimated $4 million per year which eventually led to Curry’s departure.
The Birth of Curry Brand
Fast forward to 2020 when the Curry Brand was launched with Steph Curry at the helm as president. This move marked a significant step in his partnership with Under Armour. Additionally Curry reportedly signed a remarkable $1 billion lifetime deal with the brand. This deal expanded his influence within the company spanning various divisions including golf, women’s youth and sportstyle.
The Parallels with Michael Jordan
Sonny Vaccaro’s comparison between Curry’s Under Armour deal and Jordan’s Nike partnership in 1984 is not to be taken lightly. Michael Jordan’s collaboration with Nike transformed both the athlete and the brand. It laid the foundation for the iconic Air Jordan brand which became a billion dollar sensation for Nike.
While Steph Curry’s contract with Under Armour did not explicitly specify a lifetime partnership like Jordan’s UA founder Kevin Plank hinted at the possibility. Plank mentioned that if the Curry Brand achieves sales targets the contract could automatically extend potentially leading to a lifetime partnership.
In the world of sports endorsements Steph Curry’s Under Armour deal stands as a game changer reminiscent of Michael Jordan’s historic partnership with Nike. Curry’s journey from a relatively unknown player to a global superstar combined with the establishment of the Curry Brand mirrors the trajectory that made Michael Jordan an iconic figure in the sports industry. The potential for a lifetime partnership between Curry and Under Armour further solidifies the significance of this dea making it a historic moment in the world of sports marketing.