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2 Aug, 2008 03:42

Russia’s Olympic sponsors look to win in business

As Russia's Olympic team heads for China, it's benefiting from sponsorship from some of the nation's leading companies. But sport sponsorship is still dominated by state companies, and is still in its infancy.

In the Soviet Union, sport was a priority of the government. Since the establishment of the Russian Federation, companies have been encouraged to support domestic sporting achievements. Aeroflot was one of the first companies to do so, and Deputy Director, Lev Koshelyev says its part of a long standing relationship with sport.

Aeroflot is a long time partner of the Russian Olympic Committee.  We have been the official carrier of the Russian Olympic team for many many years, so we are quite familiar with all the arrangements which are necessary for sportsmen.

Currently the Olympic games is more than just sport. Gold medal winners bring prestige to the country as well as to their sponsors. Among the companies betting for gold is VTB, Russia's second largest bank, supporting Russia's favorites to win, in gymnastics and basketball. Deputy Chairman, Vassily Titov says it isn’t just a commitment every four years

Association with the leaders of these sports is a very good association for a leader in business activity. We are working together with them for the whole Olympic cycle.  That means for us that during the this period they are using our logo on their uniform.

A million dollar sponsorship won't necessarily mean winning profits for the company, but the sport sponsorship business is young in Russia and has the potential for significant growth.

Faster higher stronger.  This Olympic slogan might well be a slogan for business.  Gold medals and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi promise to bring higher returns to sponsors.