The organisers of London 2012 have signed up the supermarket giant Sainsbury’s as a headline sponsor of the Paralympics.
LOCOG, the 2012 organising committee, said the deal to become a “tier one partner” was the “largest sponsorship ever” of a Paralympics, although it would not reveal how much the retailer had paid.
Sainsbury’s is the first “partner” to sponsor just the 2012 Paralympics, rather than the London Olympics and Paralympics as a whole.
Sainsbury’s said it would use its network of 850 stores to promote the Paralympics in the run-up to 2012, and would sell merchandise linked to both the event and the ParalympicsGB team.
It will also run a media campaign in 2012 to support the Paralympics, and will be one of two sponsors to have their names on athletes’ shirts.
Sainsbury’s said it would also work with LOCOG’s education team to develop “opportunities” around its own Active Kids programme, which provides sports equipment and coaching to children.
But a Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said it was too early to say how else they might use the opportunity to promote equality for disabled people.
Phil Lane, chief executive of ParalympicsGB, said: “It is a testament not just to the growth of the Paralympic movement but also to the success of the British Paralympic team that a sponsor of the size and profile of Sainsbury’s has signed up.”
Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee, said: “With such a well-known company becoming an exclusive partner, this will set new promotional opportunities for the Paralympic Games and the movement, leaving a powerful legacy in communities across the UK.”
And Lord [Seb] Coe, chair of LOCOG, said: “The support for the Paralympic Games in the UK is incredible and I’m thrilled that we are now in a position to confirm our first stand-alone Paralympics sponsor.”
Justin King, Sainsbury’s chief executive, said the Paralympics would complement his company’s “commitment to promote a healthy, fitter lifestyle across all ages and abilities”.