6:28 PM CDT, March 31, 2009
By Hanah Cho | Tribune newspapers
The Chicago Cubs and athletic apparel maker Under Armour will continue their marketing partnership after the baseball franchise dropped its lawsuit involving a multimillion sponsorship agreement.
Under Armour announced Tuesday that it will remain the only advertiser on the Wrigley Field outfield wall. Two years ago, Under Armour became the first sponsor to place advertisements on two, 7-foot-by-12-foot doors set into the ballpark’s ivy-covered left- and right-field walls. In January, the Cubs accused Under Armour of reneging on a promised $10.8 million, five-year sponsorship agreement after its profits declined. The team sought full payment of its contract price.
Under Armour would not say Tuesday whether their renewed partnership involves the contract terms cited in the lawsuit. The Cubs said they were “glad to have renewed Under Armour’s sponsorship,” according to a statement from Matt Wszolek, the team’s director of sales and promotion.
Under Armour said the agreement also gives it the rights to advertise behind home plate at Wrigley, which was built in 1914. “We greatly appreciate the Cubs’ history and look forward to a long-term partnership …,” Under Armour Senior Vice President of Brand Steve Battista said in a statement.
Like many retailers, Under Armour is struggling as consumers curtail apparel purchases.
The company’s fourth-quarter earnings fell by half as consumers held back on buying expensive athletic gear. Shares of Under Armour fell 4 cents to close at $16.43 Tuesday ? shares are down more than 30 percent this year.
The Cubs are owned by Tribune Co., the Chicago-based company that publishes several newspapers, including The Baltimore Sun. Tribune is finalizing a deal to sell the team for $900 million to the Ricketts family.
The Baltimore Sun