Under Armour? Never heard of it! That is how most Germans react when they are asked about the global sports-clothes brand from the East Coast of the United States.
In Germany, the label was mostly known only among serious endurance athletes – until this week, when a front-page story in the Hamburger Morgenpost asked whether the company is a suitable sponsor for second-league soccer team FC St. Pauli.
The article said that Under Armour is cultivating a martial image in its home market, providing apparel for hunters, police officers and the military, and is close to the weapons lobby. The club from the Red Light district in Hamburg, on the other hand, campaigns for peaceful coexistence, for multiculturalism and tolerance. Now the discussion, which has been rumbling for a while among St. Pauli fans online has ignited again. Many are harshly critical of the sponsorship deal.
A typical comment on Facebook goes: “I am appalled by your new sponsor.” Or: “I am incredibly disappointed in this decision and actually expect that you drop this deal.”