A fixture in international winter sports, Audi has been a trusted partner of FIS, as title sponsor of the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup and FIS Ski Cross World Cup, and as main sponsor of the FIS Nordic World Cup series. The Ingolstadt-based auto brand also served as presenting and official sponsor of the recent FIS Alpine and FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2017 in St. Moritz (SUI) and Lahti (FIN) respectively.
FIS took the opportunity to speak to Thomas Glas, Head of Sport Marketing at AUDI AG.
What were the major highlights for Audi in the past winter?
There were so many highlights like the Hahnenkamm Race in Kitzbühel (AUT), the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti or the 4 Hills Tournament to name just a few. However, the absolute highlight was the 44th FIS Alpine World Ski Championship in St. Moritz where Audi once again underpinned its position as a strong partner of international skiing. Exciting races, emotional atmosphere combined with a strong brand appearance: 2,000 guests were impressed by the advantages of the all-wheel drive quattro on snow and ice at the Audi driving experience. Every evening, the Audi Lounge at the Kulm Park of St. Moritz was the hotspot for medalists, media and guests.
Were there any new developments in your presence at the various World Cup and World Championship events?
Besides using our new Audi Corporate Identity which features the four rings in a flat 2D design throughout the World Cup and World Championship events we are focusing on giving our customers “money can’t buy experiences” like a course inspection or meet and greet with athletes and winter sports legends: Furthermore we increased our Audi driving experience platforms in various winter sports destinations.
How do you measure the effectiveness of your sponsorship?
We have a measuring tool that factors in media, print, digital numbers etc. and presents us with a certain return on investment.
How do athletes and teams benefit from the partnership with Audi?
We have partnerships with many national federations and those athletes benefit first and foremost by driving great Audi models with quattro which take them to all their competitions throughout the season. Some teams regularly train in the wind tunnel center in Ingolstadt to find the extra one hundredth of a second for the next season. In addition, athletes are frequently taking part in an Audi driving experience on ice like in Seefeld or Saalbach (both AUT) or at the Audi driving experience Center in Neuburg an der Donau (GER).
With the increasing concerns about the environment, what does Audi do to protect the environment?
We are working extremely hard on the topic of sustainability. We have already used the Q7 e tron, a plug in hybrid, as a shuttle car for the gold, silver and bronze medalists at the World Championships in St. Moritz. At the Shanghai Motorshow we have exhibited our first fully electric car, the e tron, which will be launched in 2018 and therefore also be available for our athletes to bring them to training and competition facilities CO2 neutral.
How important is the partnership with FIS for Audi and how do you see the future of Audi’s commitment to winter sports?
The FIS partnership is very important for us. This partnership has grown and developed for more than 15 years and sets the perfect stage to show “Vorsprung durch Technik” (Innovation through Technology) to an international audience. We are constantly communicating and want to tackle various topics like digitalisation, sustainability and internationalisation in the realms of winter sports together. We have a long and proud history in winter sports and also want to be a strong partner in future.