Big Sponsor Helps Norwegian Skiing Out Of Financial Hole, But Changes Are Dire

– In a full turnaround Sparebank1 re-signed as a main sponsor of the Norwegian ski federation. It’s a lifeline: previous info suggested that they would not extend the deal leaving a gaping hole in the Team Norge finances.

The deal is worth NOK 10mln per year for two years. At the current exchange rate it’s around 870k euros – a year ago it would be more like 1 million euros. With a lot of expenses – travel, lodging etc. denominated in euros, it’s still a significant decline, but it should be enough to cover team’s basic needs in the competition season of 2020/21.

– At the same time, big departure from previous policies announced. Hitherto almost all the sponsorship was done on centralized basis and was the strictest known in the world of cross country skiing: every national team member had to sign a contract containing 80+ non-compete positions e.g. all textiles worn, for instance, had to be BD/ BjornDaehlie and no other. Some relatively peripheral items – eyewear, for instance – was left for the skiers to negotiate directly.

– That will change and become “more continental” in spirit – Sparebank1 as a title sponsor would retain the most coveted spot – headgear placement, but not much else. Other spots would be up-for-grabs – sorry, as advertising space

There is no doubt whatsoever that even in post-crisis times sponsors would rush to negotiate for hitherto unavailable advertizing spots with top stars like Johannes Klaebo

– National team members will lose their NOK 120k/ year ( around 10k euros) stipend. Doubt it would be a huge loss for Johaug or Klaebo, but probably a significant one for some junior members of the team.

Bottom line:
The Norwegian skiing that became dominant in no small part through injections of sponsors’ cash in the amounts that would be beyond dream for most of the other federations has to slim down. Significantly and sharply. There will be losers and there will be winners, both domestically and internationally – but things shall probably never be the same.

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