Boxing great Muhammad Ali, who was in the news last month following his stay at an Intensive Care Unit, is back in the news again — this time for a good reason. According to CNN Money, athletic and lifestyle clothing maker Under Armour has signed a multi-year sponsorship deal with the 73-year-old Muhammad Ali, a former heavyweight champion. According to the report, Muhammad Ali would promote a brand new line up of lifestyle apparel that the company plans to launch in March, 2015. Along with the right to use Muhammad Ali’s name, Under Armour has apparently also been granted permission to use video clips and famous Ali quotes for its marketing campaigns.
While youngsters might be surprised at this deal, according to Yahoo Finance’s Jeff Macke, the decision to rope on Muhammad Ali makes sense for Under Armour. According to him, for many people who are above the age of 40 instantly recognize Muhammad Ali and still love him.
“Guys my age still love him. For guys over 40, Ali sells a lot of stuff.”
Muhammad Ali is Under Armour’s latest scoop acquisition. Last year, the company had also roped in Gisele Bundchen, supermodel and wife of New England Patriot star Tom Brady — who himself is a brand ambassador for Under Armour. This year, too, the spate of sign ups continued with the addition of actor Jamie Foxx and NBA star Stephen Curry to the company. They have been aggressive on the marketing front over the course of the past year, where it saw its stock price soar by over 50 percent in a single year. Under Armour competes with bigwigs like Nike and Lululemon in this segment.
In a statement issued by the company, Under Armour clarifies the reason they chose Muhammad Ali.
“Ali is one of the most recognized and celebrated figures of all time.”
Born Cassius Clay, Muhammad Ali started his career in the early 60s with a gold medal in the 1960 Olympic games. He had a long spanning, high profile career that ended in 1981. After retirement, Muhammad Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which he suffers from to this day. The celebrated boxer is also a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian honor.
While it is highly unusual to see companies sign up stars who are long retired, this is not an unusual trend. Football great Pele, golfers Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, and boxer George Foreman (Muhammad Ali’s one time rival) are all above their 60s and still endorse various brands, according to a report by Fortune Magazine.
[Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]