After the merger with the oil company Lundin, Aker BP also took over the sponsorship agreement with the Swiss SailGP team
Switzerland were the last team to register for the SailGP circus and will make their debut during the SailGP regatta in Bermuda in May. Bjørnar Erikstad from VI Foundation and representatives from Aker BP were also present.
The background to this commitment is that when AkerBP merged with the Lundin oil company, they took over from Lundin’s sponsorship commitment. AkerBP concluded that such a sponsorship agreement was of little importance to this company, and therefore decided that for 2022 they would transfer sponsorship to the VI foundation established by the Røkke system to give athletes with disabilities the same opportunities as able-bodied ones. Bjørnar Erikstad is the centerpiece of the VI system and is currently the ambassador in charge of the foundation and a part-time employee of the foundation.
The sponsorship agreement with the Swiss SailGP Team is currently valid for three years. How Aker BP will handle the agreement after this year remains to be seen, but representatives from the Foundation and from Aker BP will take time ahead to see how this agreement can be best put to good use.
VI Foundation is a Norway-based initiative, with global ambitions. The foundation focuses on improving the quality of life of people with disabilities, better health, increasing self-esteem, and opportunities to become more integrated. Apart from being a key partner, Switzerland sees the SailGP VI Foundation as a partner of the SailGP Race for the Future Purpose and will collaborate to develop exciting projects based on the foundation’s core principles. Sport is at the core of the foundation’s activities. Working closely with the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee, and the Norwegian Sports Confederation, their support extends from individual federations and clubs, to improve sport facilitation at the grassroots level for persons with disabilities. They also support many elite-level Paralympic athletes, across a wide range of sports.
Opportunities for Norwegian seafarers?
In its commitment to SailGP Switzerland, the foundation also supports the “Back the Bid” campaign, which aims to return to the Paralympic programme. Even though there is a Swiss team on the other side of sponsor Aker BP, there should be a chance for Norwegian sailors to get a place in this team. We have sailors approaching the level of SailGP, and the likes of Nicolai Jacobsen and Alexander Ringstad should both be relevant. In addition, we have experienced people on the support team, Bror Føyen With has been in the apparatus for a long time around Nathan Outteridge.
The answer to Formula 1 motorsport
SailGP founder Russell Coutts had ambitions to create the sport of sailing answer for Formula 1 cars, and he was soon to succeed. The series covers journeys across multiple continents and throughout the seasons. The next regatta will take place in Bermuda on May 14 and 15, and the circus will then continue to the United States on 18-19. June, England 30.-31. July, Denmark 19-20. August, France 10-11. September, Spain 24-25. September, Dubai 12-13. November ahead of the final in New Zealand will be held 18-19. March 2023.
Ten countries participate in this series; Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, UK, Switzerland and USA.
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