Cologne / Mladá Boleslav, 19 May 2017 – ŠKODA has extended its commitment as the official main sponsor of the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) World Championships for another four years to 2021. This was announced by the Czech automotive company, the World Ice Hockey Association IIHF and Infront Sports & Media, the official marketing partner of the IIHF for the World Cup, today at the 81st IIHF World Championship in Cologne. ŠKODA has been the official main sponsor of the annual battle for the ice hockey world title since 1993. The 25-year commitment has been recognized as a GUINNESS WORLD RECORD for 'the longest main sponsorship in the history of sports world championships'.
"Our commitment to this fascinating sport has played a key role in our sponsorship strategy since the start of our success story in the 1990s. This has made a significant contribution to strengthening ŠKODA’s image and reputation in the international markets," says ŠKODA CEO Bernhard Maier. Following our strategy, ŠKODA will continue to grow over the coming years. Ice hockey is a globally popular, dynamic and down-to-earth sport - values that we share at ŠKODA. In short, ice hockey and ŠKODA are a great match. In this respect, it is only logical that we would continue to sponsor one of the world's best-known annual sporting events over the long term."
"The contract to extend the partnership was signed by ŠKODA CEO Bernhard Maier, IIHF President Dr. René Fasel and President and CEO of Infront Sports & Media Philippe Blattner on Friday at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne – where it will be decided which team is to win the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship 2017 on 21 May. At the location there was also a juror from the GUINESS WORLD RECORDS who confirmed ŠKODA’s record for the longest world-championship sponsorship in the world for its 25-year partnership with the IIHF.
ŠKODA first became involved as a vehicle partner of the final round in Prague and Bratislava in 1992. Since 1993 the brand has been on the ice as the official main sponsor at every World Championship. The fastest team sport in the world has a high sporting relevance in ŠKODA's Czech homeland and many other relevant target markets. In Europe, 85% of all ŠKODA models are sold in countries where the IIHF World Ice Hockey World Championship is broadcast, and this figure is 58% worldwide. The fact that important growth markets, such as Russia, are also among the ice hockey-loving countries also speaks for the long connection to this sport.
Additional positive aspects of the sponsorship include the high frequency of the tournaments - the world championship takes place once a year - and the high visibility of the sponsor with logos on jerseys, helmets, bully circles and the ŠKODA vehicle fleet.
In 2017, more than one billion fans will be following the World Championship on television; more than 600,000 spectators are expected live at the arena.
ŠKODA has traditionally been involved in many sports. Alongside cycling and motor racing, ice hockey is the most important pillar of the company's sponsorship strategy. In addition to the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, ŠKODA supports various national associations and national leagues. Since 2012, the brand has been actively promoting young talent: The ŠKODA Junior Ice Hockey Cup offers up-and-coming stars the opportunity to demonstrate their skills.