This begs two questions. The first is: What took so long?
Consider the release dates of at least one kit and its makers for the rest of the top nine teams in the EPL:
Arsenal – May 7, 2012 (Nike)
Manchester United – May 11, 2012 (Nike)
Manchester City – July 5, 2012 (Umbro)
Newcastle – May 10, 2012 (Puma)
Chelsea – April 12, 2012 (Adidas)
Liverpool – May 11, 2012 (Warrior)
Everton – May 20, 2012 (Nike)
Fulham – June 6, 2012 (Kappa)
This list does not show the full lineup of kits but rather the first announced kit for each club.
What’s problematic for Under Armour is that they are new to the English footballing scene.
Previous kit maker Puma introduced three new kits per season at Tottenham. In their Champions League season, that number grew to six as the club had different sponsors for the two competitions.
While the designs are fine, they have waited for so long that there’s a chance they may not hit their maximum number of sales.
Nike’s kits have been announced and have been out for over a month now. Consider that in 2010, a study revealed that in the neighborhood of 1.2-1.5 million Manchester United kits were sold alone.
If taken at the low end of the spectrum that means nearly 100,000 United kits are sold per month.
Tottenham, being a Puma brand at the time, were not given a number, but for argument’s sake, let’s say they sold 360,000 kits.
That translates to 30,000 kits per month.
If you take off two months, that’s 300,000 kits instead. That’s a net loss of 60,000 sales which, at probably $100 a shirt, is not an insignificant sum.
There is something to be also said for lost sales, especially on Luka Modric and Rafael Van der Vaart jerseys, with both tipped to leave the club.
Had they been sold in June, the club might have already sold enough Modric and Van der Vaart kits to make a tidy sum before their possible departures.
The question is of course: did they get it right?
The answer to that is a resounding yes.
Opting for a majority one-color kit design, both the home and away kits are not overdone (think Maryland’s flag jerseys) and are close to what the club has been wearing for the past few seasons.
Under Armour also did not try to do anything outrageous (yet), unlike fellow new boy Warrior and their Liverpool third kit.
Overall, the kit is well designed and the marketing idea (if late), was well done by having the entire squad model the home kits.
So long as Brad Friedel is not possessed (like he looks in some of the close up shots), I’d say Under Armour has done well so far in their English kit making debut.