Under Armour Extends Sponsorship with Welsh Rugby Union
8 Feb, 2016
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Under Armour agreed to a nine-year partnership extension with the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU).
The deal is the longest on record for a Wales kit supplier, cementing a 17-year partnership that will see the brand maximise the national team's sports performance through to 2025, and reinforces Under Armour's commitment to making athletes better around the globe.
The global sports brand's presence in rugby is rapidly expanding. Under Armour first emerged in the sport as Official Technical Partner of WRU in 2008, when the Wales national side became the first licensed rugby team to wear Under Armour's technical apparel.
Under Armour has also reinforced its commitment to the WRU by becoming title sponsor of Welsh rugby's autumn international series matches, for the next nine years.
The Under Armour Series 2016 - which will welcome Australia, Argentina, Japan and South Africa to Principality Stadium on consecutive Saturdays in November - will be the first to boast such a long term brand partnership.
The clash with Japan is the latest to be added to the 2016 Under Armour Series match schedule and they face Wales on Saturday 19th November, kick-off 2.30pm.
The Wallabies kick-start the Series on Saturday 5th November (2.30pm) and the Pumas visit Cardiff on Saturday 12th November (5.30pm), with the Springboks completing a quartet of top quality opposition for Wales on Saturday 26th November (5.30pm).
"The Under Armour Series will be about testing ourselves against the best sides in the world, and with Japan now completing the fixture line-up for 2016, we have four teams from World Rugby's top ten coming to the Principality Stadium in November," said Wales head coach Warren Gatland. "Under Armour's support for Wales has been unerring in every aspect since they came on board in 2008 and it is great news for Welsh rugby that they will be working with us until 2025."
The long-lasting partnership will also provide WRU with access to Under Armour's Connected Fitness platform, which will ensure that all athletes will benefit from health, fitness, and training data to improve their performance.
Since the partnership began in 2008, Wales have won the RBS 6 Nations Championship three times, including two Grand Slams and have continued to impress on the international stage.
Kevin Plank, Under Armour Founder and CEO, said: "We have always identified with the WRU's relentless and determined attitude, which align with our core values at Under Armour. I'm proud to form a long-term partnership with the WRU and look forward to seeing our innovative performance gear produce world-class results on the pitch."
In addition to match day kits, Under Armour will provide performance training apparel to the WRU first team, age grade squads, Sevens and Women's teams - all of which will feature Under Armour signature technologies, enabling peak performance in all weather conditions. This includes sweat-wicking HeatGear® fabric to help keep players cool and dry, and ArmourGrid™ technology for light, durable strength.
Martyn Phillips, WRU CEO, said: "Welsh rugby's partnership with Under Armour is a key foundation for our future plans and upholding the legacy of our national sport. We have much in common, in that we are both 'challenger brands' who have a tendency to 'punch above our weight'. The positive impact of this partnership, which also sees Under Armour take on the role of series sponsor for our autumn matches for nine years, will reach new heights on a global scale. I'm excited about the future, the potential for both brands and the opportunity to deliver on higher ambitions."
Gareth Davies, WRU Chairman said: "With the new partnership extension, Under Armour will become one of the WRU's longest serving commercial partners, supporting Welsh rugby through three decades. Their support and dedication to our national side has been unwavering, reflecting some great successes for us on the field."
Under Armour performance training apparel and footwear are currently worn by all Under Armour rugby athletes, including international players Leigh Halfpenny, Jamie Roberts, Jordi Murphy, Drew Mitchell, Jamie Cudmore, James Haskell, Taulupe Faletau and Dan Lydiate.
Under Armour Series 2016 (kick-offs GMT)
Wales v Australia, Saturday 5th November, Principality Stadium, 2.30pm (BBC One)
Wales v Argentina, Saturday 12th November, Principality Stadium, 5.30pm (BBC Two)
Wales v Japan, Saturday 19th November, Principality Stadium, 2.30pm (BBC One)
Wales v South Africa, Saturday 26th November, Principality Stadium, 5.30pm (BBC Two)