VELUX: “The only thing we can say is a big ‘thank you’”
In early 2010, the most successful partnership in European club handball to date saw the light of day: EHF Marketing and the VELUX Group announced the title sponsorship of, first, the EHF FINAL4 and a bit later also for the Men’s EHF Champions League.
Together with Anton Kragh Lauritzen, VELUX Senior Manager Experience Marketing at the VELUX Group, we look back on some of the most remarkable moments of this partnership.
VELUX and the Men’s EHF Champions League have always gone hand in hand. Looking back at the past 10 years, what are the thoughts ahead of the last VELUX EHF FINAL4?
Yes, we do go hand in hand and the partnership has become such a big part of the VELUX history over the years – which we are truly proud of. Engaging both fans, business partners and employers across the VELUX Group throughout the years. The last VELUX EHF FINAL4 is, of course, a special feeling and brings back a lot of memories. Adding to that the Covid-19 situation, it has been important for VELUX to keep supporting both fans and the EHF Marketing in having final VELUX EHF FINAL4 – celebrating the sport, the handball community, the fans and creating a memorable end for the partnership.
Going back in history, how come VELUX decided to partner with handball in the first place?
Before entering into the world of handball, VELUX was engaged in the ‘VELUX Five Oceans Sailing Race’ across the globe. Another successful partnership. However, there was a need to identify a sponsorship platform which first and foremost could deliver on brand awareness in Europe, secondly deliver a world class hospitality set up in our key markets in Europe. And we found that in the Men’s EHF Champions League – and more. It has been a massive success to our brand and customer proximity by spending time enjoying world class handball.
Throughout the years there have been a lot of highlights and special memories. Is there a special moment VELUX will remember the most?
A cliché maybe, but it is simply not possible to pick a single highlight. I have to say that the intensity of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 is the pinnacle of the tournament. You can simply not predict the outcome of the finals, and that to me, is the true highlight – each year, all years.
What did the long-term cooperation with EHF Marketing bring to VELUX?
As mentioned earlier, it has brought what we set out to achieve in relations to our brand awareness and the interaction with our professional business partners through a world-class hospitality setup. In addition, it has also created a truly strong interaction among employees in the VELUX Group - it has in many ways been a unique meeting point in everyday conversations among colleagues locally as well as across borders. It has been a common identification for VELUX employees across the world – that is something not always mentioned in relations to sponsorships, but a very valuable element.
VELUX employees from all over the globe were a part of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 from year to year. How did they experience final events?
Yes, we have had colleagues and customers from countries such as China, US and the UK, not particular handball nations, but after the first visit to the VELUX EHF FINAL4 they were hooked, and we gladly welcomed them each year. In addition, almost all markets from Europe were present at the event. Also they were given the opportunity to meet top-management and the board members in a more informal environment – a great way to interact for both parties.
The plan for the end of the partnership was to offer fans an unforgettable experience at the last VELUX EHF FINAL4, but the Covid-19 pandemic has changed everything. Do you feel sorry you will not be able to mark the end of the partnership in a festive way?
The short answer is yes. But not as sorry as we are for the fans not being able to participate – cheering their teams in the LANXESS Arena with 20,000 fans cheering for their team. It is all about the fans.
VELUX has supported the VIRTUAL FAN campaign, enabling fans to be digitally present in LANXESS Arena. What was the reasoning behind that?
Again, it is all about the fans. That has always been our take on the partnership. Especially in these troubled times, we truly see the meaning of fans and the absence of fans. Not only in handball but in all sports. The fans are the key element. Therefore it was natural for us to support, in whatever way we could, to bring fans closer to the event with unique experiences and engagements.
What was the reasoning for ending the cooperation?
The strategy for the VELUX Group has changed over the years and we are heading in a new direction where we currently are looking for new ways of working and engaging with customers and business partners. Furthermore, we can after 10 years of partnership tick of all our objectives and a bit more. Therefore, we felt that the time was right to pass on the torch to new partners that can take the tournament to the next level.
How does the future look like – is VELUX planning on working with some other sports organisations?
The future for VELUX looks generally very bright. The demand for better and healthier homes by adding more daylight & fresh air through the roof is greater than ever. The VELUX Group is always looking for opportunities, but whether it would be with sports organisations or elsewhere is unknown. But, with the results in mind I’m sure that the VELUX Group in some point of time are to be seen as partner again, somewhere, we will see.
Is there a goodbye message from VELUX for EHF Champions League and its fans?
The only thing we can say is a big THANK YOU! Thank you to the fans, the players and to the EHF Marketing for a truly world leading partnership.