Back in his days as the special teams captain for the University of Maryland football team, Kevin Plank spent time on the field sweating into his typical cotton-based, university-issued T-shirts and shorts during practice and in games.
Plank figured there had to be a better way to stay cool.
Today, the Terrapins — along with at least a dozen other college programs — now are cladding their athletes in Plank’s sweatshirts, T-shirts, shorts, gloves, pads, hats and any number of other products created and produced by his brainchild: Under Armour (NYSE:UA), which was founded in 1996 and now headquartered in Baltimore.
What has Plank wrought since his time on the gridiron? One idea — which was to find a way to create a fabric that wicked away all that sweat, keeping the athletes underneath it cooler and enabling them to better regulate their body temperature — became the jumping-off point of the performance apparel market.
Under Armour’s performance products are now offered in more than 25,000 retail stores worldwide, generating $1.54 billion in revenues, and better than $1 billion in net income.
The company announced its first stock split this year, and Under Armour continues to evolve in product development and marketing expertise. With the ability to move into sports markets like Europe and Asia, UA has the chance to grow the company into a worldwide brand name.
For Plank and Under Armour, it’s no sweat.
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Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor of InvestorPlace. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.