Sainsbury's boosts disability sport support with British Athletics deal

Sainsbury's has renewed its sponsorship of British Athletics for four years as it seeks to build on the momentum of its backing of the London 2012 Paralympics.

Usain Bolt: competed in the Sainsbury's-sponsored Anniversary Games
Usain Bolt: competed in the Sainsbury's-sponsored Anniversary Games

The deal will see the retailer become the partner of British Athletics’ Major Event Series, which includes indoor and outdoor Grand Prix meetings and British Championship events.

Sainsbury’s is pouring more money into the sponsorship of athletics, following its support of the sold-out Anniversary Games, held last year in London’s Olympic Park and attended by athletes including Usain Bolt.

UK Athletics, the governing body that set up the British Athletics brand, claims the Anniversary Games marked the "world’s most successful event of 2013".

Niels de Vos, chief executive of British Athletics, said: "Working with Sainsbury’s last year enabled us to stage the first ever IPC Grand Final and to create the world’s most successful athletics event of 2013, the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games, selling 180,000 tickets in 75 minutes.

"Sainsbury’s are the fourth core partner to join British Athletics alongside BBC, Nike and The National Lottery, demonstrating the continued appeal of athletics within the UK sponsorship market."

Sainsbury’s renewed support of British Athletics will come as a relief to UK Athletics, after its main sponsor Aviva ended its £8m-a-year sponsorship deal of UK Athletics in 2012.

The next event in the Major Event Series calendar will be the Sainsbury’s Glasgow International Match on Saturday 25 January, which will kick off a home nations competition that will also include US and Commonwealth Invitation teams.

As part of the deal, Sainsbury’s will also support the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Para-athletic team.

Justin King, Sainsbury’s chief executive, said: "Our involvement in the Paralympics Games and Sainsbury’s Summer Series has clearly showed the power that sport has to unite and inspire budding athletes of all ages and abilities.

"Our partnership with British Athletics is a natural way of building on our commitment to profile disability sport and encourage more active.

"Sainsbury’s is committed to supporting and inspiring future generations to lead healthier, more active lifestyles."

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