Special to NYSportsJournalism.com
January 16, 2014: Sports performance brand Under Armour has athlete spokespersons from football (Cam Newton), basketball (Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings), baseball (Buster Posey, Bryce Harper), tennis (Sloane Stephens), soccer (Tottenham Hotspurs), skiing (Lindsey Vonn), swimming (Michael Phelps), golf (Jordan Spieth) and even Duck Dynasty (Willie Robertson).
Now the company has extended into the world of ballet.
Under Armour has signed Misty Copeland, soloist with the American Ballet Theatre, to a multi-year alliance. Copeland's first activation will be as part of what Under Armour is calling it's biggest marketing campaign to date to support its women's brand.
Financial details of the alliance were not disclosed.
"Couldn't be more excited to join #TeamUA and wear the best gear on the planet! Thanks, Under Armour," Copeland wrote on her Twitter page.
"Misty Copeland is a game changer," Leanne Fremar, svp/executive creative director for Under Women’s division, said in a statement. "Just as Under Armour is changing our consumer's expectations around performance gear by infusing it with style and design, Misty is changing the world's view of what it means to be a world-class ballerina. She brings a modern athleticism to a very traditional art form and pushes the boundaries of the status quo definition of the word 'athlete.'"
In 2007, Copeland became the first African-American female soloist in 20 years at American Ballet Theatre, and just the second in the history of the company. She took her first ballet class at age 13, considerably later than most of her peers, but by the age of 15 she won first place in the prestigious Los Angeles Spotlight Awards.
"Under Armour is changing our consumer's expectations [of] performance gear. Misty is changing the world's view of what it means to be a world-class ballerina."
According to Copeland, 31, whose memoir, Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, is scheduled to be published in March, "Joining the Under Armour family feels like a natural fit since they have always championed hard work and strong women. In addition to supporting me with innovative performance products that give me an edge in my training, Under Armour will be a great partner to help me inspire women as they find the will to pursue their goals.”
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