The move signals Canadian Tire’s shift to more aggressive support of amateur sport following its 2011 acquisition of sports retailer Forzani Group Ltd., which owned Sport Check and Athletes World, among others.
As well as the Olympic team, Canadian Tire partnered with the Canadian Paralympic team, the Canadian Soccer Association, Hockey Canada, Alpine Canada and Canada Snowboard. It announced a six-year deal with Skate Canada in December. The value of the deals won’t be released.
The company has sponsorships for individual athletes coming in 2013. It will also launch local programs with sports federations to teach youngsters skills in activities such as biking, soccer, hockey and skating.
“This is a very bold move that has a lot to recommend it,” said Ken Hardy, professor emeritus of the Richard Ivey School of Business in London. “It’s targeted toward youth who actually buy sporting equipment.”
“On many fronts, it’s a very logical and very smart move on their part,” said Wong, though he cautioned that success would depend on how the company connects itself with the Olympic and amateur sport.