Frequent target of internet derision and ESPN sports finance analyst Darren Rovell tweeted on Thursday that Under Armour is suing Nike. The statement, which Rovell tweeted in full, says:
“Since 1996, Under Armour has worked hard to build a company from humble roots and to strengthen the brand and its trademarks across a wide range of products and services. The I WILL trademark is one of the cornerstone symbols of our company and its products and services, and has been for many years. We have initiated a lawsuit against Nike, Inc. based on its infringement of Under Armour’s federally registered I WILL trademark.
We prefer to battle our competitors in the marketplace and on the field of play with our game- changing innovative products, but we will defend ourselves whenever necessary to protect what we’ve worked so hard to build. We will not allow a competitor to blatantly infringe upon our established trademark rights.”
Under Armour has sought to breach the stranglehold Nike has long had on the college football apparel market. The fledgling company has done well, too, outfitting numerous teams in its gear and making a splash on the market. UA has yet to touch Nike’s dominance, but jockeys alongside adidas for second billing.
Discussing what company outfits which teams might seem like a trifling matter, but make no mistake that the Oregon Ducks’ rise to football prominence over the last decade-plus has come on the strength of its Nike-branded identity. Under Armour scored a major on-field victory over Nike’s banner-carrying Ducks, when Auburn upended Oregon in the 2011 BCS championship game. Otherwise though, the Swoosh Co. has clothed every champion since the adidas-backed 1998 Tennessee Volunteers.
The Maryland Terrapins, the Oregon to Under Armour’s Nike, went 4-8 this season. The Terps are 6-18 in two seasons since Ralph Friedgen was fired as head coach (not coincidence), and since UA introduced the program’s new line of great (coincidence). The flagship (pun intended) Under Armour program set a tone for the company’s 2012 football season. To wit:
- Auburn Tigers: 3-9
- Boston College Eagles: 2-10
- Hawai’i Warriors: 3-10
- USF Bulls: 2-10
- Temple Owls: 5-6
- Utah Utes: 5-7
Of FBS-level Under Armour schools, only the Texas Tech Red Raiders (8-5), Toledo Rockets (9-4), Northwestern Wildcats (10-3) and South Carolina Gamecocks (11-2) finished above .500.
And that is apropos of…well, nothing, really.