Statoil has signed an agreement to be the general sponsor
of the Arctic Race of Norway cycling event in northern Norway. This will
be the largest sporting event ever hosted in Norway, measured in number
of television viewers across the world.
Knut-Eirik Dybdal (front) and Ole Skardal are two of the initiators of the Arctic Race of Norway. (Photo: Ivar Hjelvik)
A four-day stage race, the Arctic Race of Norway will feature some of the world's top cyclists and will be set against the backdrop of northern Norway's spectacular landscapes.
This year's event will be televised to around 100 countries. Statoil has signed a three-year agreement with the race organisers, and during this time period, all three of Norway's northernmost counties will host the race.
Anita Andersen Stenhaug, director Norne-Aasta Hansteen, Statoil's Harstad offices
"Northern Norway is important to Statoil. This is why we want to take part in promoting and developing the region as an attractive location for business development. The Arctic Race of Norway will be one of the most exciting sporting events in the years ahead, and it is only natural for Statoil to contribute," says Anita Andersen Stenhaug, director Norne – Aasta Hansteen at Statoil's offices in Harstad.
Local enthusiasts in the region took the initiative for the bicycle race. For more than 18 months, they have worked with great passion and belief in the concept.
This lead to the Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) - owners of the Tour de France and the Dakar Rally amongst other events - seeing the race's potential.
Every year, ASO receives many similar requests to take part in such events, but they thought the Arctic Race of Norway would be a unique opportunity, both in regards to the passion surrounding the event and the fantastic landscapes that northern Norway has to offer.
Communications director Reidar Gjærum
ASO will handle the logistics surrounding the cycling aspect of Arctic Race of Norway.
"Arctic Race is an excellent opportunity to showcase what northern Norway has to offer. At the same time, it can help build Statoil's position in the region. It is important that we strengthen our position and long-term business opportunities," says communications director Reidar Gjærum.
"Cycling is a sport with a major international fan base in markets that are important to the company, such as Europe. Therefore, after close consideration, we decided to contribute to the execution of this event. We must invest in future growth and opportunities, even during times when we cut costs. We're eagerly awaiting the start of the race in August," Gjærum says.
Hopefully, Arctic Race of Norway will inspire even more people to strap on their bike helmets and hit the road, including Statoil employees. Many will get the chance to see the star cyclists up close, while millions will follow the race through the TV broadcasts.
The broadcasts will be televised in prime time during the afternoons and evenings, thanks to the unique light conditions in northern Norway in August.
Statoil will contribute a fixed annual amount of NOK 8 million for each of the years of the agreement.
Knut-Eirik Dybdal, prime initiator and general manager of the Arctic Race of Norway in Harstad, is grateful for Statoil's involvement.
"Without Statoil we would be unable to host the Arctic Race. Not only has Statoil contributed funds through its role as general sponsor, but the company also contributes invaluable expertise in planning and execution," Dybdal says.