In what is a global first, the US Alpine Ski Team will officially carry the name of its sponsor. The US Alpine Ski Team will be renamed the “Stifel US Alpine Ski Team,” bearing the name of its sponsor, Stifel Financial. No other nation has had its national ski team carry the name of its sponsor.
Stifel Financial Corporation is a financial services company in St. Louis, MO, specializing in investment banking and wealth management activities. Stifel’s CEO, Ron Kruszewski, is a long-standing supporter of the US Alpine Team and has been sponsoring the ski team in different ways for several years. He hosts an annual fundraiser for the alpine team at his home.
During the announcement, Mr. Kruszewski said:
“At Stifel, success is ingrained in our culture. We have become a firm where success meets success — one that attracts successful individuals and partners, recognizing up-and-coming successes, and helps others achieve success. The athletes of the US Alpine Ski Team exemplify dedication, focus, and perseverance and represent the very definition of success.”
Stifel also sponsors the NorAm Tour, which is an FIS event in North America but is open to FIS athletes of all nationalities. NorAms are important selection events for the next generation of skiers and boarders and are the stepping stones to FIS World Cup events. Furthermore, Stifel will also be a co-sponsor of the Toyota US Alpine Championships. The US Championships award national titles in downhill, super-G, giant slalom, and slalom. Skiing is not their only foray into sports sponsorship. Stifel also has sponsorship agreements with the National Hockey League team the St. Louis Blues — once home to the legendary Wayne Gretzky — and several PGA golfers, like Kelly Kraft or Wyndham Clark.
For the US Ski Team, the four-year agreement with Stifel will secure much-needed funding for its alpine skiers, from development-level to World Cup-level skiers. The US is one of the few countries in the world that does not support its national ski team by means of federal funding, making them reliant on sponsorship deals. While every national ski organization has sponsors or premium partners, the move to rename a national ski team to carry the name of its sponsor is unusual.
”We’re thrilled to be partnering with Stifel,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard President & CEO Sophie Goldschmidt. “This is the most significant alpine partnership in U.S. Ski & Snowboard history, supporting alpine skiers from the development level to the World Cup. Stifel’s long-term commitment combined with our comparable values makes them the perfect partner.”
While the move may be unusual or even controversial, securing much-needed funding for the ski team is vital to its success. As part of the rebranding as ‘Stifel US Alpine Ski Team’, the US national alpine team will receive new jackets and race suits, featuring their sponsor’s corporate logo.