Today, Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG, Vienna, announced inMoscow that it has entered into the next World Championship of theInternational Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) as an Official Sponsor. Thiswill be the largest sponsoring partnership for a sports event inRaiffeisen''s history.
"Due to our leading role in Central and Eastern Europe and our No-1position as western banking group in the CIS, ice hockey is a perfectmatch for us," said Michael Palzer, in charge of Communications (PR andMarketing) at Raiffeisen International. Ice hockey is very popular inmost countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), and some of the bestnational teams stem from the region."We reckon that the association ofice hockey with the Raiffeisen brand will be well-perceived by both ourexisting and potential customers. It will further boost the Raiffeisenbrand''s high level of awareness among corporate and retail clients,"added Palzer.
Pavel Gourine, Deputy CEO of ZAO Raiffeisenbank Austria, values theproject as a significant support in the bank''s home market,"Ice hockeyis traditionally a game that hardly leaves anybody impartial and ishighly enjoyed across Russia. Following the acquisition of Impexbank byRaiffeisen International the merged bank aims at increasing above allbusiness on federal level. Raiffeisen had before focused on Moscow andeight more regions whereas now sponsoring the championship willsignificantly increase our brand awareness also in the regions whereImpexbank is represented."
Focusing on private customers
With more than 11 million private customers in CEE and an increase ofover 100,000 new customers per month, Raiffeisen International is theregion''s fastest-growing banking group. Against this background, thecommitment with its wide appeal was considered to be very sensible byRaiffeisen International. The group aims at expanding this customer basefast above all in Russia, where it currently services over 900,000private individuals. As of 30 June 2006 Raiffeisenbank and Impexbankoperated 36 and 204 outlets, respectively. Almost two weeks ago it wasdecided to name the new bank– to be merged in the second half of 2007 – ZAO Raiffeisenbank Austria, too. Due to this fact and with a view to maximising regional synergies for Raiffeisen International''s subsidiary banks regarding advertising effect, the sponsoring will use the brand"Raiffeisenbank".
Largest sports event in Russia for the next years
As IIHF confirmed, the World Championship will be the largest sportsevent in Russia since the Olympic Games of 1980 and will continue to befor the next years. More than 700 million viewers in over 50 countriestraditionally follow the TV-broadcasts."We are very happy to have founda sponsor with such a strong regional interest," said Kimmo Leinonen,Marketing Director of the IIHF. Raiffeisen International is one of thechampionship''s most important sponsors after Czech car manufacturer andOfficial Main Sponsor Skoda. The group will be present via two perimeterads and will be in charge of the staff''s clothes in addition tocustomary sponsorship privileges.
The agreement has been negotiated by Infront Sports& Media, theexclusive commercial partner of the IIHF. Philippe Blatter, President&CEO of Infront, said:“We are delighted about the new relationship between IIHF and Raiffeisen International as of one of Europe’s top banking groups. It is also an important achievement for Infront as we seek to further strengthen the awareness and the marketing profile of the sponsoringproperty and the sport as part of our commitment to the IIHF and all commercial partners."
The championship will take place between 27 April and 13 May 2007 inMoscow; Russia will be host the sixth time after1957, 1973, 1979, 1986and 2000. The two stadiums in Mytischi and Khodynka have a capacity ofapproximately 7,000 and 14,000 respectively. Besides Russia, thefollowing nations with Raiffeisen International subsidiary banks willparticipate: Belarus, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ukraine. Inaddition, the Austrian national team qualified for the tournament. Thenext IIHF World Championships will be held in Canada (2008), Switzerland(2009), Germany (2010) and Slovakia (2011).
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Raiffeisen International operates one of the leading banking networks inCEE with subsidiary banks and leasing companies in 16 markets. More than11 million customers are attended to through more than 2,700 businessoutlets. Representative offices in Lithuania and Moldova complement theGroup''s presence in the region. Raiffeisen International is a fullyconsolidated subsidiary of Raiffeisen Zentralbank ?sterreich AG (RZB),which owns 70 per cent of the common stock. The remaining 30 per cent isfree float, the shares are traded on the Vienna Stock Exchange. RZB is aleading corporate and investment bank in Austria and the centralinstitution of the Austrian Raiffeisen Banking Group, the country''slargest banking group.
You can download a printable photo from the press-conference fromhttp://www.rzbfiles.at/pressconference.jpg.From left: Michael Palzer, Pavel Gourine, Kimmo Leinonen and ChristophMauer (Vice President Marketing& Sales, Infront).
For further information please contact Michael Palzer(+43-676-86061-1504, email@example.com) or Martin Schreiber(+43-1-71 707-1562, firstname.lastname@example.org).