One of Canada's largest integrated oil companies will help Vancouver Olympic Games organizers put on a gold-medal performance in 2010.
An eight-year agreement gives Petro-Canada Ltd. sponsorship rights for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, including rights for the Canadian Olympic team for the Torino 2006, Beijing 2008, Vancouver 2010 and the 2012 Olympic Games.
The company came out on top of a group of energy firms bidding to become a partner for the Vancouver Games.
Petro-Canada's commitment is valued at $62.5 million.
|Dave Olecko, Business Edge|
|2010 Vancouver Winter Games CEO John Furlong, front left, and Petro-Canada president Ron Brenneman savour the new sponsorship with athletes (rear, left to right) Catriona Le May Doan, Lauren Woolstencroft, Brian McKeever, Mark Tewksbury and Alan Thomson.|
It includes an investment of $35.5 million in products, services and marketing support - including fuel and related products - to be used by the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC), $18 million in cash and $9 million in athlete support through numerous programs to be developed over the coming months.
The 2010 Games have an operating budget of $1.35 billion.
"We have a long history of supporting athletes in the Olympic movement and supporting the Games when they are in Canada," Petro-Canada CEO Ron Brenneman said, following a rally at the Calgary-based company's head office last week.
The company was also an official sponsor for the Calgary Winter Games in 1988. "This was a very logical partnership for us to create, and I'm just delighted that it's worked out the way it has."
While a portion of the funding will be used between now and 2010, most of the money pledged will be spent during the Games themselves, particularly the value-in-kind part, the CEO said.
As an official partner, the company will not only offer financial assistance but also lend the skills it has developed undertaking large projects, as well as in marketing and advertising activities, which Games organizers say is part of the Olympic program.
This means an unknown number of Petro-Canada employees will be seconded to VANOC during the run-up to the Games.
"This is beyond sponsorship in the traditional sense; we wanted to have friends who were engaged in all of the elements of putting the Games on, the whole theatre of challenges," said VANOC chief executive officer John Furlong.
"So it's a move away from the old idea of ... just advertising and promotion, which is part of it, too, but this company will be able to say at the end that they helped stage Canada's Games and that will be a legitimate claim.
"And we believe the partnership with them will make us a much stronger team on the ground in Vancouver."
Lauren Woolstencroft, a paralympian who downhill-skied to two gold medals at Salt Lake City in 2002, said amateur athletes such as herself rely heavily on corporate donations to be competitive.
While the Calgarian hasn't received direct funding from Petro-Canada, the financial backing Canada's paralympic movement has garnered will help her in her efforts to reach the medal podium again.
"I will be competing at Torino in March 2006; and in 2010? It's a possibility. I'm only 23 so I'm young enough and it's still within reach to do that."
(John Ludwick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)