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Images are leaking out on UA’s basketball shoe, supporting our view that it will be impactful to the P&L sooner than many expect (see our prior post where we YouTube UA management’s change in verbiage on the launch). One of the images from SoleCollector is interesting, as the ‘tag’ to the picture includes a big alpha-numeric name, plus some html code I don’t understand, but also the words ‘coming in November.’ (yes, Nov 2010).

Please don’t ask me what I think of the shoe. Judging a shoe’s fashion-worthiness is not my bag. In fact, I’m probably a contra indicator. But what I will say is that the shoe looks very un-Nike-ish. Yes, that’s a good thing. If UA tries to play Nike’s game, it will probably get whooped. It needs to be different, and that will almost certainly be the pitch to retailers.

To be absolutely 100% clear here...our thesis on UA is not about a single shoe, sport, or athlete. It is the sheer organic growth and earnings power that UA should realize over the next 2-years while the rest of retail struggles to stand still. Let us know if you want our more thorough analysis on UA.

LOOK AT IMAGE TAG

UA: Leaks Lend to Bull Case - 111

UA: Leaks Lend to Bull Case - 222

COOL-LOOKING NEXT-GEN RUNNER

UA: Leaks Lend to Bull Case - 333

Our July 2 Write Up

Finish Line’s management team slipped on Friday, giving indication that Under Armour’s basketball product is on the way sooner that many may think. So many people we talk with seem to blindly accept that UA footwear will not meaningfully push until 2H11. But c’mon… don’t you think that management would buy themselves just a little time to execute this initiative? After the first go around, where results were so-so at best, they’re not going to get this wrong. That’s not because it’s written in the cosmos, it’s because they’ve proactively invested for it, beginning last summer. I don’t believe that basketball will be UA’s saving grace, but will be one of the many categories that allows the company to take this from being a $150mm footwear brand, to being a $1bn brand.  

Kevin Plank Q4 08 CC (January 29, 2009)“Beyond running footwear, there are growth opportunities for us long-term in soccer boots and eventually once the product is

ready, basketball.”

Kevin Plank Q1 09 CC (April 28, 2009)“We have no designated date as to when we will be launching basketball, other than the fact that exactly when we are ready.” …  “But again we believe that we are going to be very important in basketball. We also believe that we have the luxury of being patient as to the point when we decide to enter that market. And we will do so, frankly, first and foremost and only when the product is 100% ready. So we're biding our time and going to make a strategic decision around that.”

David McCreight Q2 09 CC (July 28, 2009)“As it relates to basketball we currently are already on court. We'll continue to read the market place there and roll out when appropriate.”

Kevin Plank Q3 09 CC (October 27, 2009)“We've got 20 Elite high schools. We've got Brandon Jennings in the NBA, so we have presence and we more importantly have feedback from all levels of competition

and we will be evaluating and making those decisions to go at it, first and foremost when the product is ready and when we're ready to support it and tell a big story. Go heavy or go home.”

Kevin Plank Q4 09 CC (January 28, 2010)“Being a great footwear company is not just about making a big splash with launched products, and we have no major footwear launches planned for 2010. However, we are developing our basketball footwear and positioning for a future launch. While you won't be able to find Under Armour basketball footwear for sale at retail, you will find it being tested and authenticated throughout 2010 on the feet of ten Division I basketball programs, more than 20 top high school programs, as well as on the feet of NBA Rookie of the Year contender, Brandon Jennings. We can be patient because of the multiple growth levers that

allow us the patience to prioritize.”

Kevin Plank Q1 10 CC (April 27, 2010)“As it relates to basketball, number one, we are very committed to getting into this category. And for us it's not a question of if as much as it's a question of when.” … “I think we are very, very pleased, I think, with the progress we've made to date. And I think we're frankly sitting in the catbird as to the timing and when we choose to enter this category. And I think we'll be opportunistic with that approach, but it doesn't have to be something we can force. And, frankly, as you can see, with the strong Apparel business we can use timing to our advantage and are not forced from a revenue standpoint. So the answer to that is we're not making any declarations as to when we're going to enter the market. But when we do we'll walk in with a point of view and we'll enter with strength.”

Sam Sato FINL Q4 09 CC (June 25, 2010)"As we move into Q3 and beyond, Reebok under the Zig Tech is introducing a basketball shoe as is Under Armor and we've seen both of those and put orders against that and think there's a tremendous opportunity for us to capture some business in that category as well."