The Champ is making a comeback. He’s working for Under Armour (UA).
Former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali is going to be the new pitchman for the athletic clothing maker. The company and the 73-year-old boxing legend signing a multi-year sponsorship deal for a “lifestyle apparel” line that launches next month. Classic video clips and quotes from Ali will be used in marketing campaigns.
Yahoo Finance’s Jeff Macke thinks this will resonate well with those who can remember, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”
“Guys my age still love him,” he says. “For guys over 40, Ali sells a lot of stuff.”
Under Armour was the Yahoo Finance Company of the Year in 2014, when the stock soared more than 50%. The company has been aggressive in going after rivals in the athletic apparel world such as Nike (NKE) and Lululemon (LULU). Last year, Under Armour brought in Gisele Bundchen, supermodel and wife of New England Patriot star Tom Brady (also in the UA fold), to sell its women’s exercise gear. And just this month, it signed actor Jamie Foxx and NBA star Stephen Curry to make short films promoting its brand.
But Yahoo Finance Columnist Rick Newman thinks these kinds of celebrity deals actually take away from the products the companies are making.
“It’s just an arms race for the high-priced endorsers,” he says. “All the money is going into the advertising and the marketing and it doesn’t go into the product.”
And that, Newman believes, ends up costing all of us more.
“Usually, competition is great for consumers,” he argues. “In this case I don’t think it is. The price of the products inevitably will go up for them to keep the margins while spending all this extra money. So that’s not in consumers’ interests.”
But Macke thinks the amount Under Armour has to pay Ali really won’t make much of a difference.
“If they went after Floyd Mayweather, that would be a problem,” he says. “They’ll be fine with this.”