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Kurzworld: The Future of Under Armor

By Carl Ford May 06, 2015

Last week, we looked at the use of nanomites that were sprayed on athletes to deliver peak performance. This week (in projections of the future) we find out about another way to apply the technology.

The NFL, NHL, and MLB were normally in the cat bird seat when it came to licensing team jerseys and player numbers. So, when Under Armor offered to pay a premium on the normal licensing fees, each league association was congratulating themselves about to what tough negotiators they were.

They had not realized that Under Armor had developed a way to include wearable technology that optimized for the wearer to play more like the person who’s jersey number they were.

Want to shoot like Brad Park, Wayne Gretzky or your team’s best player? The jersey contains the memory of each player’s skills. Furthermore, the skill on top was synchronized to the gear on the bottom including, pants, padding, and skates.

Since the same was true of the baseball and football gear, the revenue that Under Armor was getting from the complete outfit made the leagues’ “brilliant negotiators” look like they had been fleeced, despite the licensing fees.

It helped that Under Armor started the marketing campaigns by giving the new wearable sports gear to athletes who were recently retired, but running their own training camps. Pitchers were grateful that the jerseys had the ability to be turned on and off, so the films of the players had additional instructional value.

Back at the league associations, the rules committee was thinking about designing new padding and pants designs so that they could renegotiate the licensing. However, the lawyers pointed out that the change in the equipment would not impact the technology implemented by Under Armor.

The next step was for the leagues to meet with MIT and Harvard, where the early nanotech had been created, to see if they could license or improve upon Under Armor’s solution. While the Under Armor application was totally different than the sprayed on technology by MIT, the university’s patent attorneys were already looking for infringements.

A University of Maryland Business Law professor pointed out that it was ironic that the school with one of the best GPL licenses was now looking for infringements.

Stay tuned for next week when the NHL sprays on tans.

And for more forward-thinking and thought leadership, check out the upcoming IoT Evolution Expo, August 17 to 20 at Caesars in Las Vegas. Click here for more. 


Edited by Ken Briodagh

Partner, Crossfire Media

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