Aviva cuts ties to UK Athletics

Aviva has called time on its 13-year sponsorship deal with UK Athletics (UKA).

AvivaPic
Aviva will cal time on one of the longest-running sponsorship deals in British sport.

The provider confirmed today (10 October) it will not renew its contract as the organisation’s principle backer at the end of the year.

CGU Insurance signed the first deal in 1999. The sponsorship was transferred to Norwich Union when it merged with CGU in 2000. It became an Aviva sponsorship when Norwich Union was rebranded in 2009.

The insurance firm says the decision was in part motivated by a shift in its sponsorship strategy.

A spokeswoman for Aviva adds that the company will use its sponsorships to focus on customer acquisition and away from brand awareness after hailing the success of its activity around grassroots and elite athletes in “establishing the Aviva brand” over the last four years.

She adds: “The partnership between Aviva and UKA is one of the longest and most successful sponsorships in UK sport. It has enabled us to build awareness of the Aviva brand among the millions of sporting fans across the UK and we feel now is the right time to pass the baton on to another organisation.

“Our sponsorship focus is now about building brand consideration and talking to consumers more about the services we offer rather than just using our media rights to build brand awareness. With our contract with UKA coming to an end in December we felt now was the right time to move forward this strategy.”

The company also sponsors Norwich FC and the Rugby Premiership and will look to push through its new sponsorship strategy through both sports properties in the months to come.

A source close to the sponsorship told Marketing Week the backing of UKA was a legacy deal that was no longer cost effective.

Some industry experts have observed Aviva has “played a sensible card” by dialling up around the Olympics to maximise the long-term brand build opportunities, adding it is stepping away at the right time.

Mike Mainwaring, consultancy and activation director at sponsorship agency Generate says that the company can now use the money saved to focus its sponsorship activity around Rugby in the run up to the World Cup in 2015.

UKA has adopted a new sponsorship system whereby it obtains multiple commercial partners instead of a single backer. The organisation believes the revamped approach will bring in additional revenues.

The value of any new deal would be viewed with keen interest by other Olympic sports bodies since it would be the first indication of whether there was likely to be a post-Olympic sponsorship boost following the success of the Games.

The governing body’s chief executive, Niels de Vos, who will oversee the organisation’s search for new sponsors, says: “Aviva has been a superb partner for UK Athletics for 13 years. Without their support over these past years, there is no doubt that athletics would not find itself in the robust good health that it does – as the country’s number one Olympic and Paralympic sport with a vibrant commercial programme of televised events and activities from the school playground to elite preparation camps.”

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