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Kevin Plank Opens Up About Nike, Under Armour's Underdog Role

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Kevin Plank Opens Up About Nike, Under Armour's Underdog Role
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The "us vs. them mentality" is something everyone in athletics knows all about. Under Armour Inc (NYSE: UAA) CEO Kevin Plank is no different.

Plank said Nike Inc (NYSE: NKE) does not fight fair, in a recent interview with NBC’s "Today Show."

“Big companies do what big companies do. They’ve got more money," Plank said. "When we run a commercial, we’ve got one shot. The person has to be great. It has to hit."

Plank knew what he was getting into by trying to take down the world's biggest apparel company, and his obsession with Nike is deep founded. In the early days of the company, he was so fixated on emerging as the top player in the sportswear world, he would send Nike co-founder Phil Knight a Christmas card saying, “You will know our name.”

'You (Now) Know Our Name'

Under Armour has recently encroached on Nike’s turf and is set to open a high profile facility in Portland, Oregon, just minutes away from Nike’s headquarters in Beaverton. Sportswear peer adidas AG (ADR) (OTC: ADDYY) also calls Portland home, hosting its North America headquarters in the West Coast city.

Many have called Plank crazy for attempting to enter the highly-competitive athletic apparel world, one that's filled with brands that have decades of experiences and recognition. Plank has always been extremely competitive and is confident that his brand belongs in that conversation.

“I was pitting it as us versus them. To me, we were always on their radar; we were always in that fight,” said Plank.

His acute attention isn't on the past, however. He is focused on competing through actively directing where the industry is going. He targets gaps in the market by delivering the most innovative products and designs that resonate with consumers of the future.

“The obligation of brands is the freshest and newest; whoever makes the best products is going to win,” said Plank.

While his focus seems unbalanced toward beating a struggling Nike, perhaps Plank should have be equally directed on its other competitor, Adidas, which has nearly doubled its market share in North America in the past year.

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Image Credit: By Concord - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Posted-In: Adidas Kevin Plank Nike Phil KnightSports Management Media General Best of Benzinga

 

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