Yahoo! Inks Deal with U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team

In a move aimed at bolstering the visibility of its sports channel, online content giant Yahoo has inked a sponsorship deal with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard team.

Through the agreement, Yahoo’s Sports channel will receive title sponsorship of the “Yahoo Sports Big Air & Style” series, a set of three nationally televised competitions on this season’s snowboard circuit, which begin this week and continue to February.

Yahoo Sports will receive branding throughout the events, including on-mountain signage, and integration into promotions for the events and the covering networks.

Terms of the agreement also specify that content about U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team events, including news coverage from this year’s World Cup circuit, will appear on Yahoo Sports. Yahoo Sports patches will also appear on all of the U.S. Snowboard Team uniforms.

Team members will appear on chats in Yahoo Chat as part of the deal, and the team also will promote various, undisclosed e-commerce initiatives and sweepstakes during the season on Yahoo.

“This relationship is natural brand fit for Yahoo, and is core to our strategy of teaming with key organizations that provide national exposure for the Yahoo brand, while bringing compelling content to Yahoo Sports and our audience around the world,” said Yahoo Sports senior brand manager Mike Kelley.

In addition to the “Yahoo Sports Big Air & Style” series, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Yahoo sponsors seven freestyle and snowboarding races this season, all of which will be aired on national broadcast networks.

“World Cup skiing and snowboarding is one of the most popular multi-national sports, so it’s exciting for us to have the support of a truly global company such as Yahoo,” said team president and chief executive officer Bill Marolt.

Yahoo is rumored to be working on a broadband, ad-supported version of its Sports channel, similar to the FinanceVision and ShoppingVision sites it rolled out earlier this year. The company routinely declines to comment on unreleased products or sites, but if such a product is indeed in the works, Monday’s sponsorship deal with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard team could be the beginning of deals to secure content for such a site. The team is managed by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, which oversees the sports’ official events in the U.S. and controls broadcast rights.

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