When I bought my second pair of Nike Free Run shoes last year, one factor was that the shoe had the slot for the foot pod that connected to my Nike+ GPS watch that hooked into my laptop to help me track my workouts. Under Armour lacked such a tie-in, so they bought MapMyFitness.
Under Armour is such a huge name in fitness apparel that you don’t need to be an athlete to know their stuff. From socks and sweats to specialty clothes for pretty much every sport, they seem to have something for everyone. But earlier this year they launched the Armour39 system – and you’re forgiven if you haven’t heard of it!
MapMyFitness has 20 million users logging into their MapMyFitness/Run/Ride/Hike/Walk/DogWalk systems, and is one of the big names in fitness apps. My wife depends on it for her walks (well she did until she hurt her ankle), and it is a great way to keep yourself accountable. It goes beyond just apps, with MapMyFitness compatible with more than 400 fitness tracking devices, sensors and wearables.
I look at this as an entirely positive development for Under Armour – they lack the integrated tracking system expertise that competitors such as Nike, Fitbit, and even Jawbone have developed. Those systems work with sites such as the DailyMile and a variety of social networks to help you broadcast your workouts, gaining encouragement and support and keeping track of your progress. From the press release:
With this acquisition, Under Armour will be uniquely positioned at the forefront of sports and technology and will continue to deliver game-changing solutions to how athletes train and perform. As part of the collaboration, Under Armour will add depth to its digital capability, offering athletes an elevated training experience through new digital products and platforms.
What does MapMyFitness get from this? Deep pockets and a broader reach, both of which are significantly important as the company seeks to expand their scope and integration in the market. They can also help deliver success where Armour39 has failed – by being an accepted and ‘platform agnostic’ brand, MapMyFitness has managed to work with everyone. Hopefully that will continue.
This has the opportunity to be a great success for consumers, creating competition that will broaden innovation just as things seem to be maturing. It will be interesting to see how it works out for both companies!