Under Armour fitness app’s celebrity pitch

By Steve Winter, special for wtop.com

LAS VEGAS — When Baltimore-based Under Armour introduced its new mobile app-based connected fitness platform at last week’s international Consumer Electronics Show, they deployed a best-of-both-worlds strategy to herald the announcement  — they combined big-name celebrities with a dynamic and powerful new product.

With baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr., pro golfer Jordan Spieth and pro surfer Brianna Cope on hand to showcase the benefits of training through technology, Under Armour launched UA Record, the company’s proprietary fitness-focused app and website.

The site aggregates users’ health and fitness data from all of the top fitness tracking devices on the market.

Now available for free download from iTunes, the App Store or Google Play, UA Record links users to a digital community of fitness-minded members.

Users can challenge up to 20 friends to daily, weekly or monthly health and fitness competitions. The app provides real-time updates and posts a leader board, even if friends and colleagues use different brands of tracking devices.

The app even compares users’ fitness regimens to several high-profile Under Armour-contracted athletes, including Spieth, Cope, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, skier Lindsay Vonn and others.

The product allows members to share videos, photos and workout stories.

“Record is an open platform into which you can plug tracking devices right away,” says Chris Glodé, Under Armour’s general manager of connected fitness.  “So whether you’re wearing an activity tracker, a GPS watch, a heart rate monitor, even if you use an iPhone 5s, 6 or 6 Plus, they’re all compatible with Record.”

By incorporating a broad range of data, the UA Record provides a total snapshot of the user’s progress — including steps, sleep, caloric burn, heart rate and weight.

Under Armour acquired app-maker MapMyFitness in 2013 essentially to produce the UA Record, UnderArmour also recently partnered with mobile manufacturer HTC to create a proprietary line of fitness-focused electronic wearables.

Under Armour’s president Kevin  Armour’s Plank said an unfortunate incident in 2011 inspired him to develop the app.

On his way to the airport after the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles, his friend and Under Armour colleague Bill Hampton died from a heart attack in the SUV in front of him at age 51. Plank said he couldn’t shake the belief that there should have been markers to alert Hampton or his doctors to his health issues.

“Today, UA Record can offer everyone of all fitness levels the ability to proactively manage their health and fitness,” Plank said.

Editors Note: Longtime CES attendees Steve Winter and Kenny Fried have been contributing reports from the show. In their day jobs, they are public relations professionals with Sage Communications. During CES they are not reporting on any of their clients’ products or those of direct competitors.

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