Lululemon Signs Top Hockey Prospect Connor Bedard, Can It Help With Push Into Men's Apparel?

Zinger Key Points
  • Connor Bedard is expected to be the first overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.
  • The owner of many junior hockey records, Bedard is said to be a generational talent for the NHL.

The 2023 NHL Draft takes place Wednesday night and one publicly traded apparel company could be in the spotlight thanks to their signing of the top prospect prior to the draft.

What Happened: Apparel company Lululemon Athletica LULU is best known for its activewear and footwear marketed to women. The company has put an emphasis on growing its men’s apparel business line, which was highlighted by analysts recently after the company reported quarterly earnings.

Lululemon announced it has signed top NHL prospect Connor Bedard as a brand ambassador.

The apparel brand shared the news in a since-deleted tweet Tuesday and in a shared Instagram post with Bedard. 

The deletion of the tweet has led some to speculate that it potentially revealed an undisclosed collaboration or stick partnership for Bedard before it was officially announced by another company.

“We couldn’t wait till tomorrow’s draft to announce our pick. Introducing our newest Ambassador, Top Canadian Hockey Prospect Connor Bedard,” the company tweeted.

Lululemon will be the exclusive apparel partner of Bedard, according to The Hockey News. This will lead Bedard to wearing the training and lifestyle gear from the company and supporting the brand with feedback.

“Being from Vancouver, I’ve been a fan of lululemon for as long as I can remember. The gear is so comfortable, stylish, and great for training,” Bedard said of the Vancouver based company. “The more you learn about the company, the more you recognize how much goes into their product design, so to get an opportunity to share my input during the development is pretty cool.”

Lululemon shared their excitement about the partnership.

“We are inspired by Connor’s athletic achievements and his humility, positivity, and natural leadership both on and off the ice,” Lululemon Vice President Global Sports Marketing And Partnerships Michelle Davies said. “Through this partnership, we’re excited to support Connor as he enters this new chapter of his career and inspires the next generation of athletes.”

Financial terms of the partnership have not been disclosed. Although Bedard can already earn a base salary and bonuses of $4.45 million from his rookie NHL contract.

There are not immediate plans for television commercials featuring Bedard with the apparel company yet, as the campaign is said to be social media driven, according to Sports Business Journal.

The Instagram post featuring Lululemon and Bedard has 43,000 likes. Lululemon has over 4.5 million followers on Instagram with Bedard having around 422,000.

Related Link: Lululemon Athletica Q1 Earnings Highlights: Revenue And EPS Beat, Guidance Update And More 

Why It’s Important: Other apparel companies like Nike Inc NKE, Under Armour UA and Adidas ADDYY have spent millions on endorsements of top athletes to help market their brands and products.

Lululemon has counted on more of a grassroots campaign for years, catering to the everyday consumer and using an ambassador program of influencers.

The company has signed several athletes over the years, including NBA player Jordan Clarkson, Formula 1 driver Zhou Guanyu, tennis player Leylah Fernandez and former NBA player J.R. Smith for golf.

Alongside Bedard, Lululemon also has NHL star John Tavares inked to an endorsement deal.

With two major NHL players locked into campaigns, Lululemon could look to market its products to an NHL fan base. Bedard being drafted by the Blackhawks could also increase the company’s exposure to men’s products in the key market of Chicago.

Seen by many experts as a generational talent, Bedard is expected to be taken first overall in the 2023 NHL Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks.

The NHL Draft will air on ESPN, a unit of The Walt Disney Company DIS, with coverage of the first round beginning at 7 p.m. ET Wednesday.

Bedard scored 71 goals and had 143 points in 57 games for the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League in the 2022-2023 season. Bedard has also been a key part of Team Canada in the junior tournaments, scoring 30 goals and 57 points across 27 games for the U-18 and World Junior Classic.

The NHL prospect holds many records and is one of only seven players to receive exceptional player status in Canada, allowing him to play a full season as a 15-year-old. The list of previous players with exceptional status includes Tavares and top NHL player Connor McDavid.

Read Next: LeBron James Now Owns Part Of An NHL Team 

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Posted In: SportsTrading IdeasGeneralapparel stocksCanadaChicago BlackhawksConnor BedardConnor McDavidJohn TavaresNational Hockey LeagueNHLNHL Draft
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