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Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank: My company is in an unfair fight with Nike | TODAY

IT IS NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS STAR

QUARTERBACK AND SUPER BOWL MVP

SUMO WRESTLING IN JAPAN.

HE WAS ON A TOUR OF ASIA AS THE

FAMOUS FACE OF UNDER ARMOUR.

WHEN HE SIGNED WITH THEM IN

2010, MARKED A BIG MOMENT IN THE

HISTORY OF THE COMPANY.

ONE OF THE BIGGEST STARS

DEFECTED FROM UNRIVALLED SPORTS

BEHEMOTH NIKE BECAUSE HE NOTICED

YOUNG PLAYERS WERE WEARING UNDER

ARMOUR GEAR.

BRADY WAS DRAWN TO THE ENERGY OF

THE FORMER COLLEGE FOOTBALL

PLAYER WHO FOUNDED THE COMPANY,

KEVIN PLANK.

ALTHOUGH HIS LITTLE STARTUP IS

NOW VERY MUCH IN THE GAME WITH

NIKE AND ADIDAS, HE RUNS IT LIKE

AN UNDERDOG.

I SPENT THE DAY WITH KEVIN AT

THE COMPANY'S HEADQUARTERS IN

BALTIMORE, A CITY HE IS HELPING

TO TRANSFORM FOR A SUNDAY SIT

DOWN.

>> THIS IS A TOP SECRET

FACILITY.

>> WHAT ARE THEY MAKING ON THIS

LINE?

>> THIS IS SOMETHING THAT WE CAN

BUILD HERE IN A MATTER OF DAYS

VERSUS TAKING MONTHS OR YEARS.

>> Reporter: WALKING THE FLOOR

OF HIS STATE OF THE ART FACTORY

IN BALTIMORE, KEVIN PLANK IS

OBSESSED WITH WHAT'S NEXT.

>> THE PROFITS CAN BE BETTER,

SAFER, MORE EFFICIENT, MORE

EFFICIENT.

IT HAS TO BECOME A COMMERCIAL

PRODUCT SO CONSUMERS CAN SAY

THAT'S SOMETHING TO WEAR, MAKE

ME A BETTER ATHLETE, MAKE ME A

BETTER HUMAN.

MAKES MY BUTT LOOK THINNER.

>> MOST IMPORTANT QUALITY.

>> YOU'RE GOING TO RUN SMARTER.

NOW THE HEAD OF A NEARLY $5

BILLION GLOBAL SPORTS EMPIRE,

THE 44-YEAR-OLD PLANK STARTED

HIS FIRST BUSINESS AS A FRESHMAN

AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND,

WITH THE HELP OF HIS FUTURE

WIFE, DJ, HE SOLD VALENTINE'S

DAY ROSES ON CAMPUS.

>> WORTH ABOUT $3,000, COST

ABOUT 1,000, POCKET 2 GRAND.

>> THAT'S NOT NORMAL FOR COLLEGE

KIDS.

DID YOU SEE SOMETHING AHEAD,

THIS COULD BE THE FIRST STEP IN

CREATING SOMETHING BIGGER?

>> I LEARNED FROM ROSES I WAS

GOOD AT CREATING A CENTRALIZED,

HAVING A VISION OF WHAT IT COULD

BE.

>> HIS NEXT VISION WOULD BECOME

AMERICA'S SECOND LARGEST SPORTS

PERFORMANCE GEAR COMPANY.

A SCRAPPY FOOTBALL PLAYER AT

MARYLAND NEVER MISSED A PRACTICE

IN FIVE YEARS, PLANK WAS

BOTHERED BY THE WEIGHT OF THE

COTTON T-SHIRTS HE WORE UNDER

PADS.

>> WHAT IF WE MADE SOMETHING OUT

OF SYNTHETIC MATERIAL LIKE

COMPRESSION SHORTS BUT FOR THE

UPPER BODY.

>> WORKING OUT OF HIS

GRANDMOTHER'S BASEMENT AFTER

GRADUATION IN 1996, PLANK HAD

500 SHIRTS MADE, BEGAN SHOPPING

THEM TO FRIENDS IN NFL LOCKER

ROOMS.

>> WHAT WAS THAT FIRST YEAR

LIKE?

>> MULTIPLE VOICES ANSWER THE

PHONE.

CAN I SPEAK TO THE PRESIDENT

PLEASE.

HELLO.

I USED TO CARRY TWO BUSINESS

CARDS, ONE SAYS KEVIN PLANK

SALES MANAGER, ANOTHER SAID

KEVIN PLANK, PRESIDENT.

>> MADE HIS FIRST DEAL WITH

GEORGIA TECH, AND THE COMPANY

GREW STEADILY FROM THERE.

IN 1999, UNDER ARMOUR HAD ITS

BREAK THROUGH MOMENT WHEN PLANK

GOT HIS GEAR IN FRONT OF THE

COSTUME DESIGNER ON AN OLIVER

STONE MOVIE.

>> HAD A BIG BREAK WITH THE

MOVIE "ANY GIVEN SUNDAY."

GOT A CALL MONDAY SAYING THIS IS

OLIVER'S OFFICE, WANT TO USE IT

IN THE MOVIE.

GREAT, WHERE DO YOU WANT ME TO

SEND THE INVOICE TO.

THEY WERE LIKE NO, THIS IS

HOLLYWOOD.

NO, EVERYBODY PAYS A FAIR PRICE.

WE WERE PAID $42,000 FROM "ANY

GIVEN SUNDAY."

>> THE ROOTS ARE IN THE MARYLAND

HOME HE GREW UP AS YOUNGEST OF

FIVE BOYS.

>> HOW DID THAT SHAPE A GUY WHO

IS SITTING HERE NOW.

IS THAT WHERE THIS SCRAPPINESS

COMES FROM?

>> YEAH, I COULD SPEAK THROUGH A

FEW NIGHTS BEING HUNG IN MY

CLOSET BY MY UNDERWEAR, CALLED

BABY-SITTING IN MY HOUSE.

THAT PUT A CHIP ON YOUR

SHOULDER.

WANT TO SHOW THEM THAT YOU CAN

DO MORE, BE MORE.

>> TODAY, PLANK COUNTS SOME OF

THE FAMILY MEMBERS AMONG THE

MORE THAN 14,000 PEOPLE HE

EMPLOYS AROUND THE WORLD.

AND UNDER ARMOUR HAS A LIST

ATHLETES THAT INCLUDE FIVE TIME

SUPER BOWL CHAMPION TOM BRADY.

OLYMPIC SWIMMING LEGEND MICHAEL

PHELPS, AND TWO TIME NBA MVP

STEPHEN CURRY OF THE GOLDEN

STATE WARRIORS.

>> THE WARRIORS JUST WON THE NBA

CHAMPIONSHIP AGAIN.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU AND

TO UNDER ARMOUR TO HAVE ONE OF

YOUR SIGNATURE GUYS BE ELEVATED

IN THAT WAY ON THAT STAGE?

>> IT MEANS A LOT, MEANS A LOT

TO SHOW ATHLETES THAT VALIDATE

YOUR BRAND ON FIELD.

>> CURRY'S TEAM BEAT THE

CAVALIERS, LED BY LeBRON JAMES,

WHO JUST HAPPENS TO BE THE FACE

OF THE COMPANY UNDER ARMOUR IS

CHASING.

WITH REVENUE OF $32 BILLION LAST

YEAR, NIKE IS FAR AND AWAY THE

WORLD'S LARGEST SPORTS

PERFORMANCE GEAR COMPANY.

>> HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK ABOUT

NIKE?

>> WE'RE AWARE OF THEM, HAVE

GREAT RESPECT FOR WHAT THEY DO.

THEY DON'T FIGHT FAIR.

>> WHY DON'T THEY?

>> BIG COMPANIES DO WHAT THEY

DO.

THEY HAVE MORE MONEY.

WE RUN A COMMERCIAL, WE HAVE ONE

SHOT.

COMMERCIAL HAS TO BE GREAT, HAS

TO HIT.

>> YOU HAVE TO TELL ME TRUE OR

FALSE, IN THE EARLY DAYS OF

UNDER ARMOUR YOU USED TO SEND

THE HEAD OF NIKE, PHIL KNIGHT, A

CHRISTMAS CARD EVERY YEAR AND

SAY YOU WILL KNOW OUR NAME.

>> YEAH, THAT'S TRUE.

THE PEOPLE I WAS TRYING TO

RECRUIT AND GET TO COME JOIN THE

COMPANY, YOU KNOW, I WAS PITTING

THIS AS IT IS US VERSUS THEM.

AND EVERYBODY ELSE WAS LIKE ARE

YOU CRAZY, YOU'RE NOT ON THE

RADAR.

TO ME, WE WERE ALWAYS ON THE

RADAR, ALWAYS IN THE GAME.

HERE WE WERE ALWAYS IN THAT

FIGHT.

>> YOU GUYS FOR THE COMPANY FOR

BETTER PART OF A DECADE WERE

GROWING ROCKET SHIP TO THE MOON,

DOUBLE DIGIT GROWTH EVERY YEAR.

THEN FOURTH QUARTER LAST YEAR

HIT A LITTLE ROADBLOCK THAT

SCARED WALL STREET.

WHAT HAPPENED THERE?

>> I THINK WE FOUND THERE'S A

BIT OF A SHIFTING MARKET THAT

HAPPENED IN THE MARKETPLACE

WHERE THE OBLIGATION OF BRANDS

IS TO MAKE SURE FIRST OF ALL,

FRESHNESS, NEWNESS, WHOEVER

MAKES THE BEST PRODUCT WILL WIN.

THERE ARE ALL THESE THINGS

CONVERGING AT ONE MOMENT IN

TIME.

>> UNDER ARMOUR HAS BOUNCED

BACK.

PLANK MADE ANOTHER HEADLINE IN

FEBRUARY, WITH A COMMENT

PRAISING PRESIDENT TRUMP'S

BUSINESS BACKGROUND.

>> TO HAVE A PRO-BUSINESS

PRESIDENT IS SOMETHING THAT'S AN

ASSET FOR THIS COUNTRY.

>> CRITICISM FOR PERCEIVED

SUPPORT OF THE PRESIDENT CAME

QUICKLY, EVEN STEPH CURRY

QUESTIONED IT.

>> IT IS UNFORTUNATE MY WORDS

WERE CHARACTERIZED IN A WAY

MEANT TO BE DIVISIVE IN SOME

WAY, SHAPE OR FORM.

LOOK, I AM THE ETERNAL OPTIMIST,

I BELIEVE IN THIS COUNTRY AND

THE OPPORTUNITY WE HAVE.

I'LL ALWAYS FIND THE BEST OF ANY

SITUATION I'M EVER GIVEN.

IN TODAY'S DAY AND AGE, THERE'S

NO ROOM FOR POLITICS.

YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED TO GIVE A

BASIC ANSWER WHERE YOU CAN TRY

AND SAY I'M GOING TO HIT THIS

DOWN THE MIDDLE AND EVERYBODY

WILL BE HAPPY.

THE FACT IS THERE IS NO ROOM FOR

THAT.

PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW WHERE YOU

STAND AND WHAT ISSUES YOU STAND

FOR.

>> PLANK WOULD RATHER BE KNOWN

FOR HIS STAND ON BALTIMORE, A

TROUBLED CITY OTHERS LEFT FOR

DP

DEAD.

HIS DEVELOPMENT COMPANY OPENED A

HOTEL AND DISTILLERY.

COMBINED WITH PUBLIC FUNDS,

PLANK WILL SPEND $5.5 BILLION ON

A LONG TERM PROJECT TO

COMPLETELY TRANSFORM THE CITY'S

DISTRESSED WATERFRONT.

>> I LOVE PEOPLE SEEING THINGS

AND SAYING I NEVER COULD HAVE

THOUGHT OR IMAGINED.

I HOPE TO BELIEVE AND HOPE TO BE

REPRESENTATIVE OF THE AMERICAN

DREAM BEING ALIVE.

THERE'S A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T

FEEL THAT NOW.

HOPEFULLY BRING SOME OF THAT

FEELING THAT IT CAN HAPPEN.

WE HAVE TO KEEP IT RUNNING, KEEP

IT GOING.

>> AS PART OF THAT DEVELOPMENT

OF BALTIMORE, PLANK CREATED A

HUB TO TRAIN WORKERS AND

INCUBA

INCUBATE STARTUPS AND DONATED

MILLIONS TO EDUCATION IN THE

CITY.

UNDER ARMOUR KEEPS GROWING.

THEY ARE BUYING UP DIET AND

ACTIVITY APPS, CREATING 150

MILLION USERS EXPOSED EVERY DAY

TO UNDER ARMOUR.

FOR A BEHIND THE SCENES LOOK AT

THE UNDER ARMOUR LIGHT HOUSE

INNOVATION CENTER WHERE THEY PUT

ME IN THE MACHINE THAT STUDIES

MOVEMENT OF WORLD CLASS ATHLETES

LIKE TOM BRADY AND STEPH CURRY,