Sportswear brand Reebok yesterday unveiled a pounds 4.5m extension of its sponsorship of sports body UK Athletics in a deal that marks the latest stage in athletics' commercial revival.
The four-year package, which continues the brand's current association with athletics in the UK, sees Reebok support both the body itself and the Norwich Union-backed Great Britain and Northern Ireland athletics teams until the end of 2004.
Under the deal, Reebok will sponsor the competition kit and apparel for the Great Britain teams at all levels up to the World Championships.
It will look to use the association as a way of maximising commercial opportunities after this year's Olympic Games in Sydney, where TeamGB scooped its biggest haul of gold medals for 80 years. This is likely to include exploiting online merchandising opportunities through the UK Athletics web site, which Reebok will help develop.
Reebok's renewal marks the first commercial tie-up to transfer between the former administration, the British Athletics Federation, and the new body, UK Athletics. Reebok has been associated with the sport since 1997.
The deal, negotiated by UK Athletics' commercial arm Fast Track, also covers support for three programmes to recruit children into the sport: including Sports Hall & Fun in Athletics, Startrack, and continued title sponsorship of the Reebok Cross Challenge.
David Moorcroft, chief executive of UK Athletics and former elite runner, said the deal was an important step toward securing the grass-roots future of the sport.
'Reebok is a great brand to have on board, and reflects the resurgence of track and field in the UK and its position as Britain's most successful international sport,' he said.