Canadian corporations looking for high-traffic advertising space could do a lot worse than some of this country’s best high-performance athletes.
The Canadian national luge team is once again on the hunt for sponsors to join them on their ride as they launched their "For Sale" campaign at the Calgary Olympic Track on Tuesday before their first on-ice practice of the 2013-14 season.
The team landed a five-year, $1-millon deal with an Alberta financial company ahead of the 2010 Vancouver Games, but it has since expired. While they’re not in danger of missing out on World Cup events or the Sochi Games, veteran luger Sam Edney said the team needs sponsorship to continue to develop the sport at the grassroots level.
"We need the support to sustain the program that we have right now," he said. "The support that we got from [the previous sponsors] was going into the program for the past couple of years and now you’re seeing the result from that," Edney said. "The worry is that if we go any longer without a title sponsor, then what‘s the future like? How does the sport sustain the level we’re at right now?
"Because we don’t have a title sponsor, we can’t send a full junior team over to Europe, which is critical for the development of our sport and the younger athletes who are the future Olympians."
The previous deal’s contribution to the development of young talent includes the emergence of Arianne Jones, Kim McRae, and doubles team Justin Snith and Tristan Walker, who are a potential podium threat for Canada in Sochi.
Snith wasn’t around for the first title-sponsor drive, but knows the effect it had.
"The improvement the team has made from 2009 to now with that partnership has been huge," Snith said. "We had our best world championship finishes ever, multiple medals… it’s been a drastic boost to the team and I really think it’s important to get another sponsor on board so we don’t take a step backwards and keep pushing for the podium."
Canadian women's slider Alex Gough flourished under the partnership, scoring two world championship bronze medals and becoming the first non-German luger to win a World Cup race in 13 years. Although the team remains focused on success on the track, they are keen to secure a long-term sponsorship deal.
"We're hoping to get a new corporate sponsor...a new partner aboard going forward, with the potential to make history in Sochi," Gough said. "That's our goal for the near future."