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Ice Hockey World Championship secures new merchandise partner

Russian marketing agency SportConcept has agreed a deal to become the new official merchandise partner of the Ice Hockey World Championship.

The three-year deal covers the 2019 to 2021 editions of the national team tournament. The partnership was brokered by the Infront agency, the exclusive media and marketing partner of the event, which is organised by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).

SportConcept will provide all merchandise for the event and will replace Swedish entity NeH in the role. NeH had held the rights for the past seven events. SportConcept has an existing presence within ice hockey through partnerships with the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) and the Russian Ice Hockey Federation (RIHF).

The partnership was announced yesterday (Sunday) as the 2018 World Championship concluded in Copenhagen and Herning, Denmark. Sweden defeated Switzerland 3-2 in yesterday’s final to retain its world title.

Bruno Marty, head of winter sports at Infront, said: “Over the last few years we have significantly expanded the licensed merchandise for the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in close cooperation with the IIHF. In a rather short time, we have come a long way. SportConcept gave us a clear vision on how we can evolve our offering together and lead the increasingly important merchandise sector to new heights.

“This ensures that the hundreds of thousands of fans attending the tournament on site to follow the event are able to take home commemorative souvenirs and high-quality merchandise. After careful evaluation by both Infront and the IIHF, we decided this was the right partnership for the coming years.”

From 2019, fans will be able to choose from hundreds of different World Championship items, while each venue will include large merchandise tents in the fan villages, as well as shops inside the arenas.

SportConcept chief executive Eduard Sinelnikov added: “We are proud that our proposal stood out from the rest – it's an important milestone not only for SportConcept but also for the Russian market. It is an important milestone for two reasons. Not only are we strengthening our position within the Russian market, but also on a global scale. Our work is driven by our genuine passion for hockey. We love this sport and we cannot wait to offer a whole range of items which allow others to show their love for it, and for the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.”

Next year’s World Championship is scheduled to take place in the Slovakian cities of Bratislava and Kosice from May 10-26. The 2020 tournament will be held in Switzerland, with the 2021 event to be co-hosted by Belarus and Latvia.