If Spike Lee's Mars Blackmon doppelganger thought Michael Jordan's greatness "gotta be the shoes," Under Armour is betting that Tom Brady's drive for a record-setting fifth Super Bowl win this Sunday is all about the jammies. As in, the $170 pajamas the Baltimore athletic-wear company began selling with Brady's endorsement last month.
Brady's "super pajamas" are not a gimmick. There's a growing emphasis in medicine on the value of sleep to performance, in sports and elsewhere. The high-profile product also bolsters Under Armour's push to get itself involved in the convergence of digital technology and use of physical data to help customers manage their wellness.
Under Armour has partnered with Johns Hopkins Medicine to figure out the best ways to record athletes' sleep data and recommend ways to get better rest and is working Brady's new sleepwear into the company's ongoing suite of web-connected fitness products, like UA Record, which lets users upload their heart rate and other health data via their smartphones, and UA HealthBox, a $400 product suite that includes a fitness band, scale and heart-rate monitor.
"It's well known that if you sleep more, you recover better," said Under Armour senior vice president for global apparel product Glenn Silbert, arguing that the 21 hours of the day even a serious athlete spends not working out is as important for fitness as the workout. "We've gotten deeper into the 24-hour life of the athlete.''