Uniqlo launches Team Sweden deal as lockdowns end, sport restarts
Many sports sponsorship deals have been hit by lockdowns and the cancellation of sports events this year and companies are seeking new ways to reach consumers, especially now that lockdown easing means those consumers can get out and about again and some sports events are restarting.
This week, Japan’s Uniqlo said it has formed Uniqlo Team Sweden as its first “team brand ambassador” with 13 Swedish athletes. The aim of of this new initiative is “to strengthen its partnership with the Swedish Olympic and Paralympic Committees by collaborating in a range of projects that underscore their shared dedication to innovation, high quality, and sustainability, while pursuing athletic perfection internationally”.
A first step is the launch of a new programme, called Dream Project by Uniqlo, whereby Olympic and Paralympic events will be held throughout the year in Sweden to inspire children and young people to find their own sport and have active and healthy lifestyles.
The new Team Sweden comprises “two Olympic legends” Jörgen Persson and Lotta Schlein, as well as 11 top athletes who had been slated to represent their country at the now-postponed Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo. These are expected to be held in 2021.
The 11 athletes are Agnes Alexiusson, Alex Kessidis, Anna-Carin Ahlquist, Anton Dahlberg, Fredrik Bergström, Jenny Rissveds, Lina Watz, Linnea Stensils, Mattias Falck, Sofia Mattsson and Tobias Jonsson. Their sports include table tennis, boxing, sailing, wrestling, football, cycling, and long jump.
Koji Yanai, Fast Retailing Group Senior Executive Officer, who’s in charge of the retailer’s Olympic/Paralympic Project, said: "Since our partnership announcement in January last year, we have been providing apparel to Swedish athletic teams and tournament officials during games and competitions. For Tokyo, we will design a unique LifeWear collection crafted for the Olympic and Paralympic teams through the lens of sustainability, collaborating closely with the athletes. The newly formed [team] will give us extra insight in how to offer them the best possible LifeWear, while demonstrating the value of working together for a brighter future.”
The new team will “play an active role in the Dream Project to guide Swedish youth to a more healthy and active lifestyle”.
“Our goal is to help at least 20,210 children find a new sport in the next year, and to win medals in Tokyo," said Peter Reinebo, CEO of the Swedish Olympic Committee.
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