2010 IIHF World Championship: a global marketing and sponsorship opportunity

The 74th IIHF World Championship will break new records in the history of the world’s biggest annual winter sports event

Zug, Switzerland – The 2010 IIHF World Championship is taking place in Germany from 7 – 23 May 2010. Its Opening Game will break the spectator world record for an ice hockey game. Staged in a football stadium — the Veltins-Arena — which will be transformed into an ice hockey rink, it provides an overall seating capacity of over 76,000. This game is a sell-out.

In total, 16 teams will play a tournament of 56 games in Germany, in the venues of Gelsenkirchen, Cologne and Mannheim.

Infront Sports & Media has handled the sponsorship, marketing and media sales for the past 29 years — a long term relationship which has generated many benefits for sponsors and the sport. For 2010 Infront is operating as a joint venture with the German Ice Hockey Association (DEB), allowing its experience and knowledge to be carried forward year on year.

Opening show stirs pre-event excitement

The grand opening show and ice hockey pre-event action will start from 2pm on 7 May 2010. Spectators will enjoy a dazzling array of entertainments, including video highlights, live video feeds, music entertainment, special events and performances.

As an extra promotional boost, the Gazprom Legends Hockey Game will be played directly in advance of the historic Opening Game. Former Russian superstars will play against former German elite players, raising the tension in the Veltins-Arena. The crowd-pulling line up of entertainment highlights provides a marketing platform to heighten the initial brand impact for the sponsors of the event. The opening event will climax with the first game of the 2010 IIHF World Championship played between Germany and the USA.

Bruno Marty, Infront’s Executive Director Winter Sports, commented: “Locating the opening game of the IIHF World Championship in a football stadium is another example of Infront’s capacity for innovation in sports marketing. Together with the strong exposure and worldwide television coverage, this significantly raises the attractiveness of the tournament as efficient communication platform for international top brands.”

Extensive television outreach — worldwide

Not only will the grand opening show be watched by millions worldwide. Fans around the globe can be sure of seeing the 56 games — no matter where they are. The 2010 IIHF World Championship is expected to be broadcasted in more than 100 countries and territories worldwide, many of them with national free-to-air coverage.

For example, fans in Germany will be able to watch games on Sport1 (formerly DSF) and Russia on 1st Channel. In North America — another key ice hockey market — games will be available on Universal Sports (USA), TSN and RDS (Canada). Even fans in Africa, the Middle East and Oceania will be able to watch the event. Overall, Infront has contracted over 70 broadcast partners. In selected markets fans throughout the world can also view both live and on demand coverage of the event via a dedicated online broadcast service available on www.iihf.com.

Marketing success story — breaks records worldwide

As exclusive media and marketing partner to the IIHF, Infront is responsible for developing the sponsorship strategy as well as recruiting all Official Sponsors. It follows a consistent format for on-site advertising including rink boards, under ice advertising, branded penalty and team benches, team advertising, product placement, media backdrops and presentation stands.

The Official Sponsors of the IIHF World Championship are actively involved in making the event a success, providing many additional activities and enhancements for fans and demonstrating their products and services in an attractive environment.

Škoda (Cars - Czech Republic) acts as Main Sponsor for the tournament since 1993, thereby establishing a world record as the longest Main Sponsor of any World Championship in history. Besides the Main Sponsor Škoda another six Official Sponsors have been involved in the event for 10 years or more, including AJ (Home and office furniture - Sweden), Bauhaus (Homestores - Germany), Intersport (Sports retailing - Switzerland), Nike (Sports apparel - USA), Tissot (Watches/timing - Switzerland) and Zepter (Home and kitchen ware, cosmetics, health lamps - France).

They have recently been joined by new, blue-chip sponsors, including Boehringer Ingelheim (OTC medicals - Germany), Gazprom (Energy – Russia), Henkel (Detergents - Germany), Kyocera Mita (Printing, faxing and copy-service - Germany), Omskvinprom (Vodka – Russia) and Raiffeisen Bank (Bank - Austria).

About Infront Sports & Media

Successful, innovative and with a reputation for delivering high quality services to its clients, Infront Sports & Media has become one of the leading full-service sports marketing companies in the world. It has 500 employees across 24 offices in 10 countries, with its headquarters in Zug, Switzerland.

Infront is the strongest, most experienced marketing agency in the winter sports arena. It has focused strongly on developing its role in winter sports over recent years, to the point that it now represents six of seven Olympic winter sport federations at international level. The Group is the commercial partner of more than 90% of all national skiing federations hosting FIS Alpine Ski and Nordic World Cup events, including the prestigious International Four Hills Tournament. As well as the long term partnership with IIHF it has relationships with the winter sports of biathlon, bobsleigh, skeleton, curling and luge.