Petro Canada steps in to help fuel the 2010 Olympics 

Total Games sponsorship reaches $540 million

Vancouver 2010’s drive to host the Winter Olympics will be fuelled by a $62.5 million sponsorship deal with Petro-Canada.

The deal announced earlier this week would see $35.5 million in value-in-kind products, such as fuel, $18 million in cash, and $9 million in athlete support.

"It is clearly a win, win relationship for Petro Canada and (the Vancouver Organizing Committee)," said Petrocan CEO Ron Brenneman at a Calgary rally held to make the announcement.

"We have the opportunity now to leverage this relationship in the marketplace for our customers. I know this will be big boost for the communities in which we operate and there will be lots of opportunities for employees to share in the value that this brings to Petro Canada."

It was great news for George Samaris, the operator of Whistler’s Petrocan station at Creekside.

"It is very exciting," he said, adding that he believes more people will frequent the station because of the deal.

"Anybody involved in the Olympics or excited about them will be sure to appreciate the sponsorship of Petro Canada."

The sponsorship also includes rights for the Canadian Olympic team for the Torino Winter Games next year, Beijing 2008, and the 2012 Games, the host of which will be announced next month.

VANOC and Petrocan began talking about a year ago. Last month John Furlong, CEO of VANOC, went back to Calgary where he said he was "speechless" at the reception given to him by staff of the oil and gas company.

"We are privileged to have a partner like Petro Canada," said Furlong.

Also speaking at the rally Furlong said one of the top reasons for choosing Petrocan was its reach into communities across the country.

"While we love the fact that we are going to have the name, and we are going to be able to talk about Canada’s gas company working for Canada’s Games, what we are really proud of is that you will be on our team and in places we could never go," he said.

"In places we will never see you will be telling the story, and sharing it in your businesses, with your family, with your friends and bringing to life the potential of this great, great thing.

"(It) is extremely important to us to have a partner that will tell this story every hour of every day all the way to 2010."

Furlong said that VANOC research has shown that when Canadians think of companies that support athletes they think of Petrocan.

"This is a company that is top of mind to Canadians who believe in sport," he said.

It’s likely VANOC will choose two more Tier 1 supporters in the coming months: one in automotive and another in the airline category.

Once those are chosen VANOC will focus on the smaller sponsors in the range of $1 to $3 million.

Already VANOC has outstripped its sponsorship goal of $450 million, outlined in the bid book.

The total now stands at more than $540 million and it’s expected that another $200 million will be raised.

With venue construction costs and other cost going up it’s likely some of the value of those sponsorships will be used to offset the rising expenditures.

Petrocan is a long time supporter of the Olympics and Canadian athletes and was a sponsor of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.

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