Land Rover To Replace Toyota As Sponsor Of U.S. Ski & Snowboard
Land Rover is finalizing a deal to become the official automobile of U.S. Ski & Snowboard through the ’22 Beijing Games, replacing Toyota after a three-year run, sources said. Precise financial terms are not known, but sources said Land Rover offered an increase large enough to dislodge an incumbent with global Olympics rights. Toyota had been paying approximately $2M annually. The loss of the biggest winter sports team is a blow to Toyota, which had grown to dominate U.S. Olympic sports since it signed a record-breaking deal with the IOC in '15 and subsequently signed with most major NGBs. Sources said Land Rover’s activation will center on USS’s strong snowboard and freeski teams, and its alpine team, where two-time Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin’s dominance ensures good TV time for Team USA despite its lack of depth. Land Rover will provide cars for USS in both the U.S. and Europe, and will seek to sign numerous athletes as part of the new relationship. A contract is not signed, but sources said they expect it to be announced within weeks. Toyota’s three-year deal expired this spring. Over the course of its run, the automaker signed numerous high-profile athletes, was the title sponsor of the freeski/snowboard Grand Prix series and presenting sponsor of the '19 FIS Snowboard, Freeski and freestyle World Championships in February. It is not clear if Land Rover will take over the Grand Prix entitlement. USS CCO Dan Barnett and Land Rover officials declined to comment. Prior to joining USS, Barnett held the same title at America’s Cup from '13-17, a period that coincided with Land Rover’s title sponsorship of a British sailing team. Land Rover’s one other NGB deal is with U.S. Equestrian.
TOYOTA NOT LEAVING SPORT ALTOGETHER: A Toyota spokesperson confirmed the company has ended its relationship with USS. Sources said Toyota expects to remain involved in ski and snowboard by retaining at least some of its athlete deals. Its two biggest names in the sport are Gold Medalist Chloe Kim and Silver Medalist Gus Kenworthy. Toyota still has an extensive presence among NGBs, including Swimming, Track & Field, Triathlon, Skateboarding, Surfing, Speedskating, Figure Skating and Hockey. NGB deals do not include rights to the Olympic rings, but are often used as an extension into the grassroots of those sports away from the limelight of the Games.