Jordan Spieth wasn’t the only winner at the 79th Masters in Augusta this year. His sponsor Under Armour will also come out of golf’s first major tournament of the season with its profile raised and reputation enhanced.
Under Armour, the American sportswear brand, overtook Adidas in its domestic market last year with sales of $1.2bn (£820,000), giving it second spot behind market leader Nike.
In terms of sales, Under Armour may still be some way behind Nike’s $8.9bn, but with Spieth’s record-equalling score at Augusta sweeping aside Nike’s leading names - Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy - there was only one winner in the sponsorship stakes.
Spieth became Under Armour’s first head-to-toe sponsored golfer when he joined the brand as a relative unknown in 2013. In January the Texan’s increasingly impressive performances persuaded the brand to offer him a 10-year extension on that deal - a decision that now looks as much of a master stroke as anything Spieth produced on the green this weekend.
Founder and chief executive of the company Kevin Plank told ESPN: “Thanks to Jordan, our company grew up today... This [the Masters] is a global event and he’s the leading trending athlete in the world right now.”
After Spieth’s social media following swelled on Sunday night, Under Armour moved quickly to capitalise by giving the youngster pride of place on its website.
The 21-year-old American has the pedigree and age to not only feature at the top of the sport until 2025 when his contract runs out, but also the capacity to attract an emerging, younger generation of golf fans to a brand whose prices are often more affordable than Nike’s golf gear.
According to a pre-Masters study by sports industry advisors Repucom, millennials are far more likely to look forward to seeing Spieth in action compared to more renowned names such as Phil Mickelson.
For a sportswear brand that has no previous history in golf, it’s hard to imagine how it could have got more on the money with its first full sponsorship in the sport. And with the brand’s first golf shoe due to be released this spring, its timing couldn't have been much better either.
Yet Spieth is just one of many dominant athletes who have been snapped up by the brand in recent years. Andy Murray parted ways with Adidas to sign a deal with Under Armour worth around £15m. While the phenomenally popular boxer Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, skier Lindsay Vonn, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Tottenham Hotspur are all sponsored by the brand.