The World Curling Federation (WCF) and Infront Sports & Media have extended their media and marketing partnership for four years taking the contract period up to 2014. The new agreement follows the initial period of three years which has led to strong achievements for the federation and the sport of curling. A streamlined marketing concept was introduced for major WCF events, resulting in 12 new sponsorship commitments. In addition, Infront contributed to an extensive increase in general awareness and exposure for curling and paved the way for the sport’s entry into new markets. Building on this foundation, Infront plans together with the WCF to further expand the sport in Asia and increase the media exposure through new channels.
Raising the international profile of curling
Within the first three years of partnership, Infront and the WCF jointly delivered 9 events around the world, totalling 72 days of curling action. The collaboration started with a complete rebranding of the WCF – including a fresh update of the logo and an introduction of key visual elements which significantly helped to strengthen the positioning of the sports brand. Thanks to Infront’s comprehensive media and marketing experience in winter sports, the overall reach and public appeal of the WCF events increased with considerable success. For the Capital One World Women’s Curling Championship 2011, a cumulative audience of more than 58 Million worldwide was achieved.
The streamlined marketing programme was introduced by Infront in order to provide greater exclusivity and optimise visibility to partners as well as improved technology and advertising solutions to enhance the overall sponsor image. Based on the increased worldwide media coverage, the sport’s attractive audience demographics and the developing strength of WCF events as communication platforms, Infront has attracted additional high-profile sponsors to curling.
New partners within the last three years include Capital One (credit cards – Canada) as Title Sponsor of the World Curling Championship outside Canada, Mount10 (data back-up provider – Switzerland), DB Schenker (transportation and logistics – Germany), Lucern Tourism (tourism - Switzerland), LGT (wealth and asset management – Liechtenstein), Mount Titlis (mountain resort – Switzerland) and Jet Ice (ice paints – Canada). In addition, Infront has extended the agreement with the traditional cheese brand Le Gruyère AOC Switzerland, a long time supporter of the Olympic Winter Sport of Curling, as Title Sponsor of the European Curling Championships until 2012.
High-value network in China pushes boundaries
Adding further marketing value and appeal to sponsors is the growth of the sport in Asia where Infront has been highly proactive. Through Infront’s market know-how and international network the WCF has been able to capitalise on their resulting presence in both Europe and China – for example through a sponsorship and equipment contract secured with 361°, one of the country’s top sport apparel brands, until the 2013/14 season. This commitment is the first of its kind – never before has a Chinese sports apparel brand become the clothing sponsor of an Olympic winter sports federation.
Kate Caithness, President of the WCF, commented: “With its unique experience and network in winter sports, Infront was and is the best choice in partner for curling as an emerging sport. The passion and dedication behind this integral media and marketing approach has been substantial and has helped to spread interest in curling around the world. Infront’s achievements are underlined by hard figures and results in terms of exposure for our sport and our partners. The foundations are now in place for the future growth and development of our sport.”
Sport’s upswing will deliver high value
Bruno Marty, Infront’s Executive Director Winter Sports, said: “It is rewarding to see what effect professional marketing structures can have on the success of a sports event, whilst also generating stronger financial support for the federation. The four-year prolongation helps us to take a long-term view, build upon the past achievements and deliver much added value to the WCF and its major events. The success of curling in Asia demonstrates the strong potential for the sport in new markets, whilst its popularity in core winter sports markets is also still growing. This ongoing upswing will further expand the WCF events’ value as a sponsorship property and consequently prove highly beneficial for the associated brands.”
With this contract prolongation, Infront remains the exclusive media and marketing partner of the World Curling Federation and will also in the next years be fully involved in WCF top events, including the World Men’s and Women’s Curling Championships outside Canada. It will handle all forms of worldwide media rights (except for Canada) with live, delayed and highlights coverage offered for all devices. Based on a clear-cut hierarchy, Infront is also marketing all sponsorship packages to the international competitions – ranging from involvement at single events to multiple-year partnerships with the WCF.
For more information on the WCF's partners see: www.worldcurling.org/wcf-partners