By Isabella Diez, Co-President
The Canada Olympic Committee has partnered with Lululemon Athletica to be the new official apparel provider for Team Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic teams. Athletes, coaches, and the staff of Team Canada will now be fully supplied by Lululemon for the opening and closing ceremonies, and for the duration of the games.
The Hudson’s Bay Company previously outfitted the Canada Olympic Team, but that 16-year partnership has now come to an end. With this new contract, Lululemon is now the official outfitter for Team Canada up to and including the 2028 Los Angeles games. The first appearance of the new Olympic clothing will be for the 2022 Beijing Game, with the exclusive collection being revealed this month on October 26th.
Lululemon launched their new sponsorship by releasing a featured collection which was made available to the public last month. This included the Future Legacy Bag, with ten percent of the profits going to the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Foundations.
Hudson’s Bay had been the official outfitter for Team Canada for a total of eight Olympic Games: Turin, Beijing, Vancouver, London, Sochi, Rio, Pyeongchang, and Tokyo. One of the most popular Hudson’s Bay Team Canada pieces was the iconic pair of red mittens, sold each winter season, with proceeds donated to Canadian Olympians.
Although no formal announcement was released regarding the reason for ending their Canada Olympic Team partnership, The Bay did state that, “Hudson’s Bay has been a strong supporter of Team Canada for 16 years. We are incredibly proud of the kits worn by the athletes on the world stage, and the support we provided a generation of athletes. We wish them continued success and remain steadfast fans of Team Canada.”
During the pandemic, Lululemon saw a dramatic increase in sales as interest in health and wellness grew across the country; the demand for comfortable leisure apparel was apparent. This growth in consumer interest was a contributing factor in Lululemon securing the partnership, in addition to their strong second-quarter financial results for 2021 in which Lululemon reported a 61% revenue increase to $1.5 billion.
Although Lululemon has done well this year, previously, in March of 2020, Lululemon’s stock dropped to a low of $140 a share. However, now, a year and a half later, Lululemon’s stock has tripled to $430 per share contributing to their successful second quarter fiscal results.
Lululemon was selected, in part, due to their commitment to “designing technical and innovative products for and with athletes.” Karen O’Neil, CEO of the Canadian Paralympic Committee stated, “This is an exciting partnership, and we are so delighted to be welcoming Lululemon into the Olympic and Paralympic communities.”
There have been questions as to whether this contract will be of financial benefit to Lululemon. Some believe that this partnership may only be beneficial depending on the price Lululemon paid. However, others believe that any cost for Lululemon is well spent, because of the brand exposure they will gain.
The introduction of Lululemon as the new official Olympic outfitter has generated a lot of excitement and its Olympic apparel collection is anticipated to be widely well-received.
Photo by: Canadian Olympic Committee