By Barry Janoff
February 18, 2015: Declaring that "The most iconic figure in sports is teaming up with the most innovative brand in the game," Under Armour has signed a deal to handle a line of items from Mohammad Ali.
The multi-year agreement, signed with Authentic Brands Group LLC, which manages Ali, will see Under Armour produce collection of Ali-branded apparel, footwear and accessories, scheduled for release in the fall.
The deal with Authentic Brands also enables the Baltimore-based footwear and apparel company to use "vintage video, photos and quotes from Ali in a marketing campaign that will launch in March.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Despite having retired from boxing in the early 1980s, Ali remains a global iconic figure even to young audiences and consumers, giving Under Armour another weapon in its quest to equal and/or pass the worldwide reach of such competitors as Nike and adidas.
Ali's voice was used in a commerical from Toyota for the Camry, starring paralympic athlete Amy Purdy, that broke during Super Bowl XLIX earlier this month.
The 73-year-old Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1984. He held the world's heavyweight crown three times in the 1960s and 1970s, finishing his career in 1981 with a record of 56-5. His daughter, Laila, was 24-0 as a pro boxer.
"Ali is one of the most recognized and celebrated figures of all time," Glenn Silbert, vp for Under Armour, said in a statement. "[Ali has] achievements both in the boxing ring and through his dedicated humanitarian efforts around the world."
The pact has been initiated with a limited-edition UA x Muhammad Ali T-shirt available at Under Armour's Web site and retail locations ($34.99).
"We see in the Under Armour brand a similar spirit and drive that pushed Muhammad to be such a groundbreaking force."
"We are truly flattered to have Under Armour pay homage to Muhammad in such a significant way," Ali's wife, Lonnie Ali, said in a statement. "We see in the Under Armour brand a similar spirit and drive that pushed Muhammad to be such a groundbreaking force."
Ali has other lines of clothing, throwback apparel, posters and other goods at his own Web site.
Under Armour already has had a collection of items from iconic boxers in collaboration with Roots of Fight called Bloodlines, which included Ali and Ali's No. 1 nemesis, Joe Frazier, as well as Jack Johnson, Mike Tyson Lennox Lewis and Ray Mancini.
In 2013, Ali and Under Armour were co-honored by the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation at an annual Aspire Gala for their dedication to community service.
Under Armour is on a roll with new lines. The company had a major launch of Stephen Curry's NBA signature shoe during NBA All-Star week and recently signed tennis star Andy Murray.
Under Armour is presenting sponsor of the NFL's Scouting Combine, now underway in Indianapolis.
Under Armour Swings Deal With Andy Murray
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