LAUSANNE Starting this year, Switzerland will once again have a national ice hockey competition. Zurich Insurance Group has become the official presenting partner of the Swiss Hockey Cup in a four-year deal brokered by InfrontRingier. The tournament was last held in 1965–1966. “With the Swiss Ice Hockey Cup, we are taking the opportunity to mark and connect with a promising project right from the start,” Zurich CEO Joachim Masur said. “Here lower-ranked teams play against major ones. I’m curious which teams will manage to put the greatest pressure on the big stars. The Cup will definitely bring us unique sporting moments.”
As a nation renowned for its love of outdoor sports and home to prestigious events such as Ski World Cup Wengen, the Montreux Jazz Festival and the Locarno Film Festival, it should come as no surprise that sponsorship is a multi-million-franc business in Switzerland. Not surprisingly, Swiss International Airlines invests in long-term sponsorship partnerships with events it sees as being quintessentially Swiss. These include the Omega European Masters, the Lucerne Music Festival, White Turf St Moritz and Art Basel. Meanwhile, UBS AG, Switzerland’s biggest bank, sponsors the Federal Swiss Wrestling, Alpine Festival and Athletissima Lausanne, among others, as well as the world-renowned Montreux Jazz Festival.
Firms such as Zurich-based ISM Sports & Entertainment Group, Sponsorize, InfrontRingier Sports & Entertainment Switzerland and MediaCom advise companies on which events might best meet their communication goals and how to build brand awareness. They partner with rights holders and often sell distribution rights to media outlets. “Sponsoring sports and entertainment is key for many Swiss companies,” said ISM CEO Pascal Stucki.
Earlier this month, Swiss-Ski, the national governing body for skiing in Switzerland, announced it has extended its partnership with banking group Raiffeisen. The new deal ensures the partnership will continue until 2017. As part of the agreement, Raiffeisen will sell branded gloves and hats to raise money for regional ski associations in Switzerland and grassroots competitors.