The two year sponsorship agreement will see Audi named as the Official Car of the Australian Sailing Team.
The deal which was agreed and finalised just before the AST travelling to Qingdao, China to compete in the first of two Olympic Test events in the lead up the Olympic Games, is the second major sponsor deal announced by the AST in recent days.
The partnership with the AST will see Audi extend their already impressive level of involvement and support of the sport of sailing, both in Australia and internationally.
The AST spends an average of 6 months each year competing internationally and this deal with Audi will provide essential support for team members whilst competing and training in Europe, North America and China. Audi will provide the team with a range of its high-performance lifestyle cars, including the new Q7 performance SUV, new allroad quattro (arriving from 2007) and the popular A4 and A6 Avant models. The partnership provides the AST with a number of long term use Audi vehicles within Australia on a full time basis to support the Team and its promotional activities.
Andrew PLYMPTON, Yachting Australia President commented 'We are delighted to have Audi as a major sponsor, not only is this deal of great value to us and will provide excellent support to our athletes, it is an association of which we are thrilled to be a part of. We pride ourselves and aspire to being the best sailing team in the world and Audi's philosophy, brand values, ethos and position in the world car market are perfectly aligned with this.' He went on to say 'We hope to create in partnership with Audi and our other sponsors, a unique relationship which will be based around not only sound brand values and exposure, but also in creating exciting and enjoyable events and experiences.'
Audi Australia's General Manager - Marketing, Javier DEGEN, says the partnership highlights the strong synergies between Audi and the AST.
'Both Audi Australia and the AST have a clear goal to be the best in their fields, producing high-level, competitive results, and to show their strong commitment to the sport of sailing,' DEGEN added.
Audi Australia's Managing Director, Joerg HOFMANN, said the new sponsorship places Audi as the biggest corporate sponsor of sailing regattas in the country. 'Our goal in Australia is to be the major partner of high level competitive sailing and joining the AST on their quest for Olympic excellence is a clear step towards this goal,' Mr HOFMANN said.
In addition to its agreement with the AST, Audi Australia is the naming sponsor of the Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta and has recently announced two other major sponsorship deals with Hamilton Island Race Week and Skandia Geelong Race Week. Audi kicks off this year as the official car partner for the Hamilton Island Race Week, and from 2007 they will launch 'Audi Race Week at Hamilton Island'. In 2007 Audi will also become the official car partner of Skandia Geelong Week, with its 450-plus competitor fleet, further cementing their involvement in sailing in Australia.
Phil JONES, Chief Executive Officer of Yachting Australia said of the deal 'This agreement means Audi Australia now joins Hamilton Island as the major co-sponsors signed by the newly established Australian Sailing Team.' He went onto say, 'This value-in-kind and cash deal is a hugely beneficial to all Team members as they will now be able to easily transport themselves and their equipment to competition and training wherever they maybe in the world. This will take pressure off individual athletes so they can focus on their primary goal of winning Gold Medals in 2008. This is the second announcement of Major Co-Sponsors for the AST, further showcasing how the corporate sector is committed to Australian sailing'.
Further sponsorship deals with the AST will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Australian Sailing Team
The Australian Sailing Team is the official national representative sailing team and is comprised of the best Olympic class sailors in Australia. Selected annually, athletes qualify for inclusion in the team by finishing in the top ten at an Olympic Class-World Championship, or be identified as having the potential to do so within a two year period. The Team is generously supported by the Federal Government through the Australian Sports Commission, the Australian Olympic Committee and is a Tier 1 Australian Institute of Sport program. The Team is managed by Yachting Australia, a member of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), the Australian national authority for sailing. The Team's goal is to develop talent and win Olympic Gold Medals for Australia in Beijing 2008 and beyond.
CEO Yachting Australia - Phil JONES
AST Director - Michael JONES
AST Head Coach - Victor KOVALENKO
AST Team Manager - Rob BROWN OAM