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Will Under Armour take over the world of fitness tech?

Under Armour
(Photo: Under Armour)

Under Armour’s always been known for its superior athletic fabric technology, but it’s about to take on fitness tech in a huge new way that has nothing (or at least very little) to do with sweat-wicking.

“Under Armour is a tech company,” announced CEO Kevin Plank at a splashy event at Marquee on Thursday, February 12, where the brand also debuted a basketball sneaker that will be the signature shoe of NBA All-star Stephen Curry and a new “Book of Will” ad campaign featuring Jamie Foxx. “We are a digital company,” Plank declared.

He’s not exaggerating. Not even a little.

Earlier this month the company spent $560 million to acquire fitness and nutrition apps MyFitnessPal and Endomondo, just over a year after spending $150 million to buy popular running app MapMyFitness. Those are in addition to the company’s own app, Under Armour Record, and Armour 39, a wearable module and chest strap that syncs with many of the apps.

The takeaway: Under Armour now has more than 120 million users across its digital platforms, making it the largest digital health and fitness community in the world. “One in five Americans has one of these four apps,” Plank said. That’s a whole lot of fitness lovers with Under Armour in their life—and phones, even if they don’t (yet) own a UA sweatshirt or shoes.

As the company grows in this space, the opportunities for syncing across the apps and continuing to innovate are endless. (Plank said that a year ago Under Armour had 50 people on its digital team, compared to 400 today, including 300 engineers.)

So while Mobihealthnews reported that Plank has said that the “digital business was still subservient to selling apparel,” Under Armour just might be able to rule both (and create synergy between the two).

Regardless, all of this makes Under Armour the fitness tech player to be reckoned with, able to step up to bat against mega brands like GoogleFit, Apple Health, Nike’s tech ventures, and the many wearable devices struggling to make the data they collect for users, well, useful.

Eventually, people will see the launch of Under Armour Record, which brings together data on sleep, workouts, diet, and more as “the dashboard of your life,” Plank predicts. At least that’s what he’s planning on.

“Our job is to go the next level,” he said at the event, referring to everything from sneakers and leggings to technology that boosts your healthy lifestyle. “Our job is just to win.” —Lisa Elaine Held

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