Thousands of professional and amateur skiers participate in some of the world’s toughest long-distance ski races in the Visma Ski Classics championship every year. As Visma enters its fourth season as title sponsor, former CEO and now Chairman of the Board, Øystein Moan reflects on the sponsorship and what it means for the company.
– Supporting Visma Ski Classics over the last three years has been a great journey for Visma. We are able to connect with our audience in an entirely new way through the unique context of cross-country skiing, says the former CEO.
Visma joined Visma Ski Classics as title sponsor in 2015. The ski tour consists of several prestigious long-distance ski races, including Maricalonga, Vasaloppet and Birkebeinerrennet. News this season is Engadin Skimarathon, the latest addition to the ski tour and the first ever free technique race in the history of Visma Ski Classics.
– We are able to connect with our audience in an entirely new way through the unique context of cross-country skiing.
Visma as a household name
The Visma brand is given broad coverage through the televised events watched by more than 20 million viewers in 70 countries worldwide.
– The number of people watching the broadcasts has been steadily increasing over the last three seasons, exposing our brand to a broad audience group and contributing to making Visma a household name in the Nordic countries and beyond, Moan continues.
Social media exposure also has a powerful impact on raising awareness for Visma, resulting in both activities and discussion. People can get training tips and stay updated throughout the season on Visma’s own Facebook page, blog and Instagram feed.
Visma also wants to use the sponsorship to connect with new audiences outside its usual target groups. An increasing number of people are using mobile devices for work, and with new functionality accessible through the cloud, the Visma brand is available for an even larger user group.
Connecting with the audience
The championship differs from other sporting events in that amateurs and professional skiers compete together. It means that anyone can challenge the greatest long-distance skiers in the world in the Visma Ski Classics races.
At selected races, Visma hosts camp Visma, where skiers can come into the Visma Ski Classics trailer to relax, have a hot drink and recuperate after crossing the finish line.
– It is great for us to come out to the arenas and meet the skiers and the audience. Many of the participants match our key demographic, and engaging with them at the events is a great way of building a strong relationship with both new and existing customers.
– The skiers have the same passion and commitment to the sport as we do to software development.
Both professional and amateur skiers spend hundreds of hours training for the races. Moan praises the level of commitment and determination of the participants:
– The skiers have the same passion and commitment to the sport as we do to software development. The positive associations that cross-country skiing brings with it like team spirit, strength and competitiveness align perfectly with the values that Visma identify with.
Cross-country skiing as a sport is close to the heart for many people in the Nordics. It has a growing follower base who both practice skiing and watch the events. Moan makes sure to emphasise the positive effect the sponsorship has on the community:
– Cross-country skiing promotes a healthy lifestyle, and the ski tour fosters fellowship in communities across Europe. The sponsorship allows us to contribute to the fantastic atmosphere and join people in great events that generate positive sentiments for our brand.
– The sponsorship allows us to contribute to the fantastic atmosphere and join people in great events that generate positive sentiments for our brand.
As an extended part of the sponsorship, Visma has launched an internal initiative called #VismaActive. The idea is to promote an active lifestyle in the organisation and to get people to share their experiences and inspire others.
– The sponsorship has created a wave of internal engagement, many of our employees are participating in the races and sharing their sporting moments on social media. This contributes to a great sense of unity among our employees and sends out an important message to our audience, Moan explains.
– The sponsorship has created a wave of internal engagement, contributing to a great sense of unity among our employees.
Moan experienced the atmosphere at the races first-hand when competing in Ylläs-Levi, the final race of the tour, last season. He is excited about the season ahead and has already signed up for several races.
– I’m looking forward to the competition this year, and I am hoping that many of our employees, customers and partners will join us in the ski tracks this winter.
The ninth season of Visma Ski Classics commences November 30th in Livigno, Italy. Want to read more? Visit the Visma Ski Classics webpage here.