Canwest signs Winter Olympics deal

In what its president calls 'the largest sponsorship commitment in our history,' the communications biggie will be the Games' official regional newspaper publisher.

Canwest Publishing announced yesterday that it is partnering with the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games to bring the spirit of the Games to communities across the country as the event’s official regional newspaper publisher.

‘Our investment in the 2010 Winter Games is the largest sponsorship commitment in our history,’ says Canwest Publishing president/CEO Dennis Skulsky. ‘Our regional newspaper network is thrilled to play a key role in promoting one of the biggest events of our generation – right in our back yard.’

The sponsorship provides VANOC with greater regional advertising avenues through a value-in-kind allocation of print and online advertising in Canwest’s 10 regional daily publications: The Gazette, Ottawa Citizen, Windsor Star, Regina Leader-Post, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Vancouver Sun, The Province and Victoria Times Colonist – but not the National Post.

In turn, Canwest will receive exclusive rights in the regional newspaper publisher product/service category for the 2010 Winter Games in addition to the Canadian Olympic team for the Beijing 2008, Vancouver 2010 and London 2012 Games. The sponsorship is a marketing and advertising partnership and is independent of Canwest’s editorial coverage of the 2010 Winter Games.

As part of the partnership, Canwest will produce a series of information guides designed to inform and educate the community about Games programs such as transportation, ticketing, sports and arts and culture. Ad opps will be available in these publications – some of which will be branded as official guides accessible only by VANOC partners, while others will cater to non-partners.

General editorial coverage of the Games will remain independent of Canwest’s deal with VANOC, according to Skulsky.

The amount Canwest paid to ink the deal – which gives it the right to use the Olympic rings and other official Games marks – was not disclosed.