Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG, a member of the RZB Group headed by Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG, will participate in the 74th World Championship of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) in Germany as Official Sponsor. Raiffeisen International therefore continues the successful partnership of the World Championships 2007 in Moscow and 2009 in Switzerland. The event will take place from 7 through 23 May in Cologne, Mannheim and Gelsenkirchen, where the initial game will be played.
«Ice hockey is very well perceived by large parts of the population in CEE, and the same is true for the Raiffeisen brand. The effects of the economic crisis notwithstanding, we have one of the strongest financial brands across the region. After two very successful co-operations in the past, we felt the time has come to conclude a medium-term agreement that should help us strengthening our market presence and our brand’s recognition values even further», said Raiffeisen International CEO Herbert Stepic.
Ice hockey is very popular in most countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), and some of the best national teams stem from there. This provides a natural match with Raiffeisen International, which is present throughout the region with one of the largest financial networks. Out of the group’s 17 covered markets, Russia (the current world champion), Belarus, the Czech Republic, Kazakhstan and Slovakia will participate.
Continuing the previous sponsorship agreements, Raiffeisen International and Infront Sports & Media, the exclusive commercial partner of the IIHF, concluded a five-year contract for the IIHF World Championships until 2014. Following Slovakia next year, Finland and Sweden will jointly organise the championships 2012 and 2013. Belarus will host the event in 2014. Raiffeisen International is the exclusive financial brand among the Official Sponsors, the position of the championship’s Official Main Sponsor is held by Czech car manufacturer Skoda. Among other benefits, Raiffeisen International will be present via two perimeter ads in the rinks featuring the «Raiffeisen Bank»-logo.
Philippe Blatter, President and CEO of Infront, said, «We are very pleased about the renewed cooperation between the IIHF and Raiffeisen International, especially as both parties appreciated the mutual synergies and benefits of such a multi-year agreement.»
For Germany, the IIHF World Championship will be the biggest sports event in 2010. Over 350,000 spectators are expected to attend on site — and another estimated 650 million will be watching the games on TV, with more than 200 television stations broadcasting over 2,500 hours of world-class ice hockey in more than 100 countries.
Raiffeisen International operates one of the largest banking networks in CEE, covering 17 markets across the region through subsidiary banks, leasing companies and a range of other financial service providers. The group’s 56,500 employees service more than 15 million customers through around 3,000 business outlets. Raiffeisen International is a fully-consolidated subsidiary of Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG (RZB), which owns about 70 per cent of the common stock. The remainder is in free float, with the shares listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange. RZB is a leading corporate and investment bank in Austria and the central institution of the Austrian Raiffeisen Banking Group, the country’s largest banking group.