Thursday, October 15, 2009

Curling team sponsors rock

The Continental Cup is back. For three years, starting in 2011.

And while that is a great story, we like one of the underlying themes even better. Read on.

Turns out the rumours of the Cup demise were premature. The Canadian Curling Association and World Curling Federation have agreed on the relaunch after this year’s hiatus – there is no Cup event held during Olympic seasons – and their decision was no doubt made easier with the news that World Financial Group will be the title sponsor.

“We are most happy to welcome World Financial Group into our partnership with the CCA, allowing us to continue the Continental Cup in a stronger financial position, thanks to their support,” said Les Harrison, WCF President. “This competition has been an important showcase of the world's most talented curlers in a very unique format, which has enabled us to develop and promote our sport through a variety of disciplines.”

Indeed, the Ryder Cup-esque feel of the event, which features Team World versus Team North America in a variety of curling disciplines, has led to the creation of the World Mixed Doubles format, which may become an Olympic discipline in time for Sochi 2014.

But our favourite line in the CCA news release is this one, from World Financial Group of Canada president Rick Williams.

“Our commitment to sponsor the Continental Cup is an example of our commitment to supporting curling in Canada, which began four years ago with our sponsorship of the Randy Ferbey team,” said Williams.

“The participation of curling teams from across the globe parallels our reach as a global financial distributor - to help individuals and families become financially independent. We look forward to working with the Canadian Curling Association and the World Curling Federation to make this a very successful event.”

What’s our point? Simply that curling team sponsors can grow from “smaller” industry contributors into larger national partners; from issuing grassroots, slap-on-the-back support to cutting some very big cheques. And this new reality is something that curling sales experts used to scoff at.

They’d best not be scoffin any more. World Financial Group now joins The Dominion and M&M Meat Shops as major players in the CCA Season of Champions stable, and all three started the same way... as lowly curling team sponsors.

The revolution continues.

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