SBJ/Jan. 24-30, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

North Face will outfit new U.S. Freeski

The U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association has signed a multiyear marketing partnership with The North Face that will make the outdoor brand the face of USSA’s new freeski program.

The deal is expected to be announced this week, when USSA unveils a new division, U.S. Freeski, at the SnowSports Industries America trade show in Denver.

The U.S. Freeski division will operate independently the same way U.S. Snowboarding and the U.S. Ski Team do, and The North Face will be its uniform supplier. Burton and Spyder currently outfit the snowboard and ski teams, respectively.

Sources valued the eight-year agreement with The North Face at approximately $6.5 million.

Many in the Olympic sports industry expect the International Olympic Committee to add ski halfpipe and slopestyle competition for the 2014 Sochi Games. The North Face has ramped up its spending in the freeski industry in anticipation, also signing its first full ski park and pipe team and multiple ski park and pipe events.

“They are so excited and focused on this that before [freeskiing joins the Olympics], they are willing to make that level of commitment,” said Andrew Judelson, USSA’s chief revenue and marketing officer.

USSA plans to sell other sponsorship packages in the same way that it does for its ski and snowboard teams, Judelson said. USSA sponsors will have to make an incremental investment to use the team’s marks and intellectual property rights.

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