Baltimore-based Under Armour doesn’t have a cycling gear line — but it might want to start thinking about it soon. If a Tour de Maryland comes to fruition in 2012 or soon after, the international audience exposure for a title sponsor could be a coup for the athletic apparel company.
Under Armour executives have said over the last few years that growing its international presence is one of its priorities. In its last quarterly report, executives talked at length about growth in foreign markets and noted Under Armour sales in Japan are approaching $100 million.
On Thursday I called up Under Armour to ask about the cycling prospect, and at that time, no one at the company had spoken to the cycling tour’s organizers about sponsorship.
I’m sure 2012 is too soon to even think about launching a cycling line for the company (although if that’s in the stars it wouldn’t hurt to jump the gun and sign a multi-year sponsorship deal anyway.) Either way, if a cycling race in Maryland takes hold, Under Armour could position itself in year two or three of the race to make a bid as the title sponsor.
It seems like it would be a natural fit for a company that is selling itself to the international sports market. While Maryland’s fortune 500 companies would also be likely candidates for sponsorship, the Marriott International Tour de Maryland or the Lockheed Martin Tour de Maryland just doesn’t have that cool, sports ring to it.
But that could just be my sports bias talking. After all, the Tour of California is sponsored by Amgen, a biotechnology company. And at the end of the day, it’s not how something sounds, anyway (see: Chick-fil-A Bowl, the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg).
It’s all about the money, anyway. And without a title sponsor, this race isn’t getting off the ground. So who in Maryland do you think is willing to put up the bucks?