Finding new ways to expand in a largely untapped market was part of the appeal for the Italian sportswear brand to jump on board, but it was the enthusiasm of the CPL staff behind the scenes that really garnered their interest according to Cook.
“We were really blown away by the overall project and the thought behind it,” said Cook. “And to be honest, the actual passion in the way that everyone spoke about the league and the idea to create jerseys and apparel specifically to be ‘For Canadians by Canadians.’”
As a new league in an already heavily saturated industry, the CPL needed to find fresh concepts to stand out and establish an identity upon entering the global football community.
Through the ‘creative freedom’ allotted to them by Macron in the jersey design process, they were able to curate truly unique kits for each individual club, a level of collaboration no other sportswear company could match according to Canadian Premier League Director of Commercial Licensing Jim Neish.
“It was important for us that each of our kits told a unique story,” said Neish. “Through the bespoke design process and Macron’s fabrication technology, we are able to create innovative design elements that take advantage of fabric sublimation and embossing.”
Many competitors advertise ‘bespoke’ design without the ability to truly deliver on that promise, one which Macron hopes to fulfill in every partnership according to Cook.
“What we try to offer is bespoke and there are many people that say they do bespoke, but very few actually are able to do it.”
“What we mean is that you have creative freedom to say, ‘for this team I want to have a polo shirt collar, for this team I want a V neck’ and that level of detail is a very important part of everything that we do.”
To ensure both parties were on the same page every step of the way, leaders from the CPL and each of their clubs travelled to Bologna to visit Macron’s headquarters in an ‘immersive process’ where designers were matched with individual clubs to finalize each detail of the kits and other fanwear.
While in town, the Canadians also stopped by the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara for a Serie A match where Bologna FC managed to upset Roma — a result which earned them a lifetime invitation back thanks to the good fortune they brought to the ground.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Macron has expanded from one retail location within Canada to three since signing on as the league’s kit and apparel supplier while also striking a deal with Rugby Canada as their official jersey and sportswear provider.
Currently in partnership with over 150 clubs across several sports worldwide, Macron’s relationship with the CPL remains unique for two key reasons according to Cook — the all-league strategy of the project and the level of ambition demonstrated in the league’s jerseys.
“We actually use the Canadian Premier League as a benchmark for the creative side of kit conception, they tell a story and that’s what we love and that’s what our designers love.”
“We see the CPL as being a real leader in this department.”