IPC and Allianz Team Up on Digital Series -- Sponsor Spotlight

Also: Visa needs new head of Global sponsorship; Cigna partners with World Rugby Sevens Series; BWF welcomes Mailman

(ATR) The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and international partner Allianz release the first of 10 episodes of a video series aimed at inspiring the next generation of Para athletes.

The series, entitled "Chasing Greatness," began on Thursday with the story of 20-year-old Ryan Straschnitzki’s recovery from a tragic bus accident in April 2018 involving his Canadian junior ice hockey team.

The Humboldt Broncos’ team bus crashed with a semi-trailer at an intersection in rural Canada, killing 16 people and seriously injuring 13 others. Straschnitzki was one of the survivors, and the five-minute film shows his fight and will to get back to the sport he loves.

The videos will be released bi-weekly, with the next scheduled release on Dec. 19, and can be watched on the IPC and Allianz digital channels as well as here.

"We know that Para sport is a powerful tool that can be a life-changer for many, and the best people who can exemplify that are Paralympians themselves,"Craig Spence, IPC Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, said in a statement.

"That is why we are excited to partner with Allianz and connect aspiring Para athletes with mentors who can show them the ins-and-outs of the particular Para sport. Each interaction has a special story, and we want to tell and share those stories in the best way possible."

Visa Needs a New Head of Global Sponsorship

Kate Johnson leaves Visa after more than six years at one of the founding members of the IOC’s TOP program.

According to Sports Business Journal, Johnson will start work with Google in January building and leading a division overseeing global partnerships in content and sports media.

During her time at Visa, she oversaw renewals to long-term deals with the IOC and the NFL and made changes to the company’s Olympic athlete sponsorship program.

Johnson won a silver medal in rowing at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

Cigna Partners With HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series

Global health service organization Cigna has been named the Official Wellness Partner of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

World Rugby says that a key objective of the partnership is to increase awareness of both mental and physical wellbeing by promoting the positive impact that sport and fitness can have.

Cigna’s partnership will incorporate fan activations and hospitality programs in tournament host cities around the world.

"Cigna joins at a very exciting time for rugby sevens with the world series featuring a record number of tournaments and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on the horizon," World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said in a statement.

"We look forward to working with Cigna on continuing to grow the game of rugby sevens and inspire new audiences globally."

Patrick Graham, Asia Pacific CEO at Cigna International Markets, added "Building upon our successful partnership with the Hong Kong Sevens since 2015, Cigna is thrilled to continue our leadership position in advocating for whole person health for body and mind by extending our sponsorship to the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series."

The announcement was made this week in conjunction with the first combined men’s and women’s tournament of the 2020 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series season in Dubai.

BWF Welcomes Mailman

Leading global sports digital agency Mailman will run and oversee the Badminton World Federation’s Chinese social and digital content and communications operations for the next year.

The target audience for the BWF partnership with Mailman are the 149.4 million people in China who actively play badminton.

BWF Commercial & Communications Director, Owen Leed, admits that not all of those people "are currently active consumers of our content and actively engage in badminton conversations. But we much rather prefer to convert ‘active participants’ into ‘active fans’ than having to convert fans into players."

Andrew Collins, CEO of Mailman says his company will look to "translate this participation to China’s digital space with an entirely new story, building greater engagement and establishing badminton with China’s youth".

The Federation has also engaged Mailman’s UK-based consultancy arm Seven League to conduct regular social media training sessions with five elite players as part of a pilot program.

Written by Gerard Farek

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