Under Armour returns to the gridiron

BALTIMORE — Under Armour is going back to its roots — grassroots football, that is — in its latest global marketing campaign. Things kick off with a 60-second spot called, "Ready for August," which will serve as the centerpiece of phase two of the I Will campaign.

The commercial will be broadcast July 15 on Fox during the 2013 MLB All-Star Game Home Run Derby, and is viewable on YouTube now.

Featuring creative contributions from former Baltimore Ravens linebacker and two-time Super Bowl champion Ray Lewis, who serves as the project's executive producer, the commercial showcases the journey of young athletes who have to compete to earn a spot on the team, learn to sacrifice in pursuit of greatness and embrace hard work to elevate their game to the next level. 

Lewis helped script the original creative, spent time on set and participated in editing sessions.  

"Under Armour was a part of my career on the field, and even though my playing days are over, having the opportunity to reach young athletes with empowering and positive messages is something I look forward to in the next chapter in my life," said Lewis.  

After the 2003 and 2006 campaigns Protect this House and Click Clack, this marks Under Armour's official return to preseason football advertising.

"The team sports adaption of the 'I Will' campaign represents our brand's core commitment to tell real and unfiltered moments in the journey of the next generation athlete," said Steve Battista, SVP, creative, Under Armour. "This brand knows football, but having Ray Lewis acting as an executive producer helped narrow the creative focus into some of the most inspirational stories of his own life, from the coach picking up players in the truck, to Ray racing his rival every day before practice, to the day he finally broke through and made starting defense. He gave us a special perspective on a new storyline — the one-on-one battle within the team."

The campaign will be supported by additional content, including a three-minute long-form version of "Highlights" and behind-the-scenes from the set with Ray Lewis. 

After it airs on Fox, "Ready for August" will be broadcast in the U.S. on Adult Swim, BET, ESPN, ESPN2, MLB Network, MTV and MTV2. Key digital media partners include Complex, Facebook, ESPN, NFL, Pandora, Stack, Turner, Undertone, USA Today High School Sports, VEVO and YouTube. Print creative can be seen in Baltimore Magazine, The Baltimore Sun and ESPN the Magazine.

The I Will team sports storyline will be told internationally showcasing different sports in key markets including England, Japan, China, Canada and Mexico.