Sainsbury’s steps up athletics sponsorship

Sainsbury’s has been unveiled as the title sponsor for the three biggest athletic events in the UK this year after a successful sponsorship of the London 2012 Paralympic Games prompted the signing of a long-term deal with British Athletics.

Sainsbury’s is widening its existing backing of disability sport through a long-term deal with British Athletics.

The retailer will be the main backer of the three domestic televised athletics events this summer – the Grand Prix at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium in June, the British Championships at the same venue in July and the Anniversary Games at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium also in July. The tournaments will collectively be known as the Sainsbury’s Summer Series.

As part of the deal, the retailer has committed to supporting British Athletics Athletics’ Paralympic programme through to the 2016 Games in Rio and the IPC World Championships in 2017.

Justin King, Sainsbury’s chief executive said: “As the first ever sole-sponsor of the Paralympics, Sainsbury’s saw firsthand the power of sport to bring people and communities together. We said at the time that we saw our involvement as much more than a one-off sponsorship – we wanted to be part of the movement, and to play our part in ensuring a lasting legacy building on the momentum created last summer.”

It is the first tie-up signed by British Athletics since it ended its long-running partnership with insurance brand Aviva and rebranded from UK Athletics. 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 organisation aims to move away from having major backers towards building a portfolio of partners in a bid to strike more deals and maximise revenues.

Sainsbury’s is expanding its association with disability sport following its sponsorship of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, which it claims has positively affected the perception of its brand and improved its relationship with customers and staff. Since the event, it has also unveiled a £1m legacy scheme to help disabled children lead healthier lives.

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