Bryce Harper, Under Armour Agree to New Contract: Latest Details and Reaction

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2016

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 02:  Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals bats during the game against the Kansas City Royals on May 02, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Washington Nationals superstar Bryce Harper has signed a contract extension with Under Armour, per a Tuesday announcement from the company.

According to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com, the deal is a 10-year extension "believed to be the largest endorsement deal in history for a baseball player."

Harper released a statement on Instagram about the news:

Harper, 23, is one of MLB's brightest young stars. The defending National League MVP and 2012 NL Rookie of the Year is hitting .271 this season with nine home runs and 24 RBI after just 25 games. He's already well on his way toward replicating his epic 2015 campaign, when he hit .330 with 42 home runs, 99 RBI and 118 runs scored.

His continued ascension to superstardom makes him arguably baseball's most marketable player, so his decision to re-sign with Under Armour is a major win for the company.

Harper joins an elite group of athletes under the company's endorsement umbrella that includes Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, golf sensation Jordan Spieth, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw and NFL quarterbacks Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers) and Tom Brady (New England Patriots), per Rovell.

"I'm proud to call Under Armour my family, and I know that together, we will achieve great things," Harper said in a statement, per the Washington Post's James Wagner. "Under Armour has been one of my biggest advocates since I began my professional journey, and I can't wait to share what's next with the fans."

The company "will begin selling Harper's first signature cleat, the Under Armour Harper One, in July," according to Rovell. But Harper also offers intriguing possibilities from a marketing standpoint, as he's been seen donning "Make Baseball Fun Again" hats and has been outspoken against baseball's culture of unwritten rules that he feels constrict personal expression and fun.

That stance makes Harper a likely candidate to resonate with younger fans—a demographic the sport continues to have a hard time reaching—and is just another reason why he's so marketable and is one of the premier stars for Under Armour.

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