Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Super Bowl Gets Cheaper; Armour Braves the Fire


Super Bowl Ticket Prices:
Prices fell today. The 'get in' price is now hovering around $2,000, from the $3,100 it was yesterday. Here's my take. The guys that were selling these things pumped them up so much that people ultimately were scared away by it. Prices will still come up a little bit I believe, because people who weren't willing to pay $3,000 are willing to pay $2,000.  And they can still fly down to Miami for $600, even if they have to be a little creative with hotels and driving. We'll be monitoring things as they develop from here, so make sure to check back.

Under Armour:
Under Armour got killed today after reporting some numbers that their insiders should be very proud of -- 55% growth on fourth-quarter net. 2007 net revenues are expected to approach $580 million. It's not a question of whether UA is a legitimate company -- they are no longer David. It's a question of whether the Street believes they deserve more than the 51% share increase they enjoyed in 2006.

What Under Armour has done on its shoestring marketing budget is amazing. Just think about the fact that Under Armour's total marketing expenditure is $65 million. What will be interesting to watch over the next year is to see how Under Armour does in the endorsement game.

When the company started up, they had almost no marketable names (Eric Ogbogu doesn't count) attached to their brand and they still managed to get the buzz. I wondered how long they could do that for, but obviously they now clearly believe that their brand has to appear on real professional athletes or they won't be seen as authentic. Now they are in football with guys like Vernon Davis and A.J. Hawk (the logo only appears on their shoes), tennis with Robbie Ginepri, baseball with Alfonso Soriano (he's in the ads, they get no on-field exposure) and they've just signed Cat Osterman (softball) and Kimmie Meissner (skating). They already have Maryland, Texas Tech and Auburn in the college game and we hear they are close to agreeing to terms with South Carolina.

Here's the best of what Under Armour's Kevin Plank said this Thursday morning :

"We said that we'd launch cleated footwear in 2006 and we do profitable with our "Click Clack" campaign around football cleats and captured more than 20% market share, raised ASPs for our retailers, extended the selling season by three weeks and proved that Under Armour could succeed as a performance footwear brand." 

"At the end of 2006, we had 600 stores in Europe, and we expect to double that by the second half of 2007. Our investment here will now begin in manifest itself -- as we expect the business to triple for Under Armour Europe by the end of the year."

"We believe we are in perfect position to reach our long term goals while profitably growing our business in 2007, 2008 and beyond. We do so with equal parts -- passion and discipline. Our corporate culture will accept nothing less."

Kobe Exclusive:
Nike had a great day today ending up over $100 a share. For those of you who are Kobe fans, we hear his shoe is hitting stores on April 1 and it will be a Foot Locker store exclusive. However, Eastbay will be selling pairs of the shoe online.

The NBA Must Have "Dug" Him:
The NBA announced on Wednesday night that it hired Gary Zarr, who was the senior vice president of communications and business development for the American Museum of Natural History, to serve as the league's executive vice president of marketing and communications in charge of the league's international marketing and communications functions. Before joining the museum, Zarr was executive vice president and assistant to the president at Howard Rubenstein Associates. Zarr will begin in March. He replaces the hole left by Greg Economou, who joined the league in April of last year but soon left to join the Charlotte Bobcats.

Questions?  Comments?