SBJ/November 19 - 25, 2007/This Weeks News

USSA gets blizzard of renewals, new biz

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association has brought in more than $4.5 million in renewals and $2 million in new business for the 2007-08 season, after having half of its $14 million in sponsorship revenue up for renewal at the end of last winter.

All new and renewing partners signed long-term deals that keep them aligned with the USSA through the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, highlighting early corporate interest in those games.

“Clearly, the Vancouver Games are a draw,” said USSA Chief Executive Bill Marolt, “but we don’t have an Olympic Games or a World Championship this year and our belief in continuity and consistency has allowed us to have a strong year.”

The USSA picked up three new partners in Audi, Prudential Financial and Delta Air Lines.

Audi’s deal makes it the official automotive partner of the U.S. Ski Team through 2011-12 in a deal sources valued in the seven figures annually. The agreement puts Audi’s logo on the sleeve of the U.S. Ski Team uniform and includes rights to the team’s marks and individual endorsements with four athletes — Julia Mancuso, Lindsay (Kildow) Vonn, Ted Ligety and Steve Nyman. It also grants Audi six ad units over three NBC broadcasts.

New USSA partners are Audi, Prudential Financial,
and Delta Air Lines.

The partnership gives the German manufacturer its first exposure on the slopes during U.S. World Cup stops, too. Though it has been the title sponsor of the FIS World Cup for five years, its exposure at U.S. events was limited because of the U.S. Ski Team’s partnership with Chevrolet.

Now, it will be the title sponsor of the only U.S. stop on the women’s FIS World Cup tour in Aspen, Colo., on Dec. 8 and an associate-level sponsor of the World Cup men’s downhill event, the Birds of Prey at Beaver Creek, Colo., Nov. 27-Dec. 2, and World Cup freestyle competition at Deer Valley, Utah, Feb. 1-2.

“We had been in a position where we couldn’t have an auto partner activating at our marquee events,” said Ted Morris, the association’s vice president of sales and marketing. “Now we’ll be consistent with the worldwide tour here in the U.S., and have someone who can activate.”

Prudential Financial becomes the official retirement planning partner of USSA through 2010 in a deal sources valued in the mid-six figures. The deal includes eight ad units in four broadcasts, rights to the U.S. Ski Team marks and associate-level sponsorship of events at Aspen, Beaver Creek and Deer Valley.

Delta replaces United as the official airline of USSA in a primarily value-in-kind deal that sources put in the mid-six figures. The U.S. Ski Team spends $1.5 million to $2 million a year on athlete travel, and Delta offers direct flights into and out of Salt Lake City, near the USSA’s Park City base. The deal does not include media, but does give Delta exposure at events in Aspen, Deer Valley and a snowboard Grand Prix in Breckenridge, Colo., Dec. 14-15.

The USSA picked up key renewals from Nature Valley and Visa, as well. Nature Valley increased its investment in skiing by 15 percent with a deal sources valued in the low seven figures annually over four years. The deal means Nature Valley’s logo will continue to appear on the U.S. Ski Team uniforms, and the company will be able to use the team’s logo at retail on its granola bars over the next several years.

Visa, a longtime USSA partner, becomes the title sponsor of the Deer Valley freestyle competition.

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