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SBD Global/April 16, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Sainsbury's Partners With UK Athletics, Will Be Title Sponsor Of Three Summer Events

The "star-studded athletics event" that will mark the first anniversary of the London Olympic Opening Ceremony will be known as the "Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games," according to Simon Hart of the London TELEGRAPH. UK Athletics announced a "major new sponsorship deal" with the supermarket chain on Monday. Sainsbury's will be the title sponsor of all three domestic televised athletics events this summer -- the Birmingham Grand Prix, the British Championships & Trials and the three-day London Anniversary Games. The Birmingham meeting "also incorporates the final" of the Int'l Paralympic Committee Grand Prix Series, while the third day of the Anniversary event will be a one-off int'l Paralympic competition. Collectively, the meetings will be called the "Sainsbury’s Summer Series." Of the three, the Anniversary Games "is the jewel in the crown." The prospect of Usain Bolt and the rest of the world’s top athletes competing in the Olympic Stadium in front of sell-out crowds "will guarantee the company huge brand exposure" (TELEGRAPH, 4/15).

BULKING UP: REUTERS' Keith Weir reported British athletics received "a welcome commercial boost" by Sainsbury's sponsorship. The sport "has been seeking new backers after insurer Aviva ended a 13-year sponsorship at the end of last year, walking away despite the exposure athletics enjoyed during the Olympics in London" (REUTERS, 4/15). The partnership "is part of Sainsbury’s support for the British Athletics Paralympic programme," which has already included £2M ($3M) of funding for schools, clubs and organizations "to nurture the next generation" of Paralympians (RETAIL WEEK, 4/15). MARKETING WEEK's Sebastian Joseph noted the fact the title sponsorship deal ends after the Anniversary Games "means UK Athletics is still looking for long-term partners to help fund its elite abled-bodied programme." The organization "aims to move away from having major backers towards building a portfolio of partners in a bid to strike more deals and maximise revenues" (MARKETING WEEK, 4/15).
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