NFL Loss a Win For Under Armour

If the NFL loses its antitrust case, Under Armour could be a victor.
Publish date:



) --

Under Armour

(UA) - Get Report

could be a winner after the

National Football League lost its long-fought petition to be protected by antitrust suits

when it comes to licensing.

The Supreme Court ruled that the NFL is not a single entity and sent the case back to a lower court to decide if the league has the right to sell the licensing rights to all 32 teams.

At the heart of the issue is a suit filed by

American Needle

against the NFL back in 2004. In 2001, the NFL struck a 10-year deal with Reebok, a division of


, which gave the company an exclusive license to market NFL caps and apparel.

American Needle had been making and selling hats with NFL logos since the 1950s and sued the NFL, the teams and Reebok after it lost its right to make the products.

If NFL loses this case, this could be a substantial boost for Under Armour, who could then pick up licensing rights for individual teams. Currently, anyone who bids for the NFL license would obtain the right to all of the teams.

"It certainly can't be bad news for companies seeking better terms for licensed goods," says Needham analyst Sean McGowan, "And it could be good for UA if it leads to greater flexibility."

Separately, Under Armour is climbing 8.3% to $33.65 following an upgrade by UBS to buy from neutral and upped its price target to $38 from $36. Analyst Michael Binetti said the athletic footwear and apparel maker appears poised to launch a cotton-hybrid clothing line in 2011.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

Follow Jeanine Poggi on


and become a fan of TheStreet on