Yesterday, Saints Chairman Ralph Krueger hosted an assembly to make an announcement on a new partnership with an innovative sports brand. Journalist Ben Hooke was on hand for georgeweahscousin.com to find out more about this exciting new chapter in the Southampton experience:-
Saints today announced a record-breaking kit deal with Under Armour, becoming only the second Premier League club to opt for the American company as principal kit sponsor.
The deal was announced by Krueger and Under Armour’s Vice President of Global Sports Marketing Peter Murray at St. Mary’s today and extends until 2023 with Krueger believing it’s a big step in Saints’ journey.
“We went from the Championship to the Premier League in 2012; that was a historic day for the club and I believe this is a historic leap for the club too. Our partnership with Under Armour as a club takes us into a completely new space.”
“The most important thing about a partnership like this, the focus of Southampton FC, is excellence through the first team on a weekly basis in our Premier League matches. So, as quick as we are growing as a club we are adding strengths in all aspects of the club.”
At its heart the deal involves six pledges:
1. Relentlessly innovate and create revolutionary product enabling our first team to perform at the highest level.
2. Continue to develop the next generation of academy talent and empower them with over 5000 pairs of cutting edge footwear over the next seven years
3. Work with Saints foundation and kit out over 5000 children in the local community
4. Develop the women and girl’s game through our shared expertise and knowledge
5. Realise our global ambition by spreading the benefits of sport and healthy living through technology and activations
6. Together we commit to having fans and innovation at the heart of everything we do
Peter Murray shed some light on what attracted the two parties together:
“A big driver from a partnership standpoint was not only the first-team but also the commitment by Southampton to develop their academy players to achieve their very best.”
“Under Armour will be on the Southampton FC journey every step of the way; providing the club with training resources, training tools in addition to outfitting the academy players from head-to-toe in state of the art product including footwear.”
Spurs became the first team in the UK to don the US giants in 2011 and the brand’s profile on this side of the Atlantic has increased recently with their sponsoring of tennis star Andy Murray and recently crowned IBF heavyweight world champion, Anthony Joshua.
Krueger was ringside at Joshua’s fight against Charles Martin and was seen on Sky Box Office embracing the new champion after he knocked out Martin in just the second round.
The deal also increases Saints’ rising stature across the pond with the club receiving solid media coverage in the US since their return to the Premier League as well as recently opening soccer schools set to expose 100,000 children to Southampton FC coaching.
UA replaces Adidas after three years of the agreement between the club and the Three Stripes – the current kit makers’ sponsorship ends at the close of this season – but the clubs relationship with Adidas hasn’t been the smoothest.
The club opted to produce its own in-house kits for the 2014-15 campaign after a break-down in talks midway through their first season as partners, before resuming the initial agreement at the start of this season.
The Under Armour deal with Saints is believed to equate to £8 million per season.