Equestrian Concerns at the ISPO 2008 Trade Fair in Munich with European Sports Sponsoring Congress
The ISPO in Munich takes place twice a year at Munich and is one of the largest trade fairs for sports clothing. We were there this year at the winter ISPO in January, to search for new winter clothing with an equestrian application and found several interesting products for equine enthusiasts.
Impressions from the European Sports Sponsoring Congress in January
The Australian company DRIZA-Bone, while not yet in the market of purely equestrian items but certainly expressing interest of moving in that direction also, makes an interesting line of outdoor clothing that can be worn in three layers (for summer, autumn and winter) and keeps riders warm and dry. We tested the entire 3 layer product during the duration of the fair and were impressed with the warmth, comfort and - very important for riders - the smooth manner in which the Driza-Bone clothing adjusts to body contours, providing extreme flexibility. They also make long pants, which would be ideal to wear underneath jodhpurs during cold weather.
The Driza-Bone stand at the 2008 winter ISPO
Some Driza-Bone products
Driza-Bone, incidentally, was introduced to us by Formula 1 race driver Marc Webber from Australia, whose Adventure Race in Tasmania they sponsor. "The Tasmanian Challenge Charity Race is a 6 day adventure race," explained Webber, "which is open to pretty much anyone who is fit. Of course, we would very much welcome participants from the equestrian world. I started it because I wanted to give something back to those less fortunate. Having had experience with cancer in my own family and knowing how devastating such a diagnosis can be on the family, also on the financial side, raising funds for cancer charities is currently one of the main focus of the Tasmanian Challenge."
Marc Webber at the winter ISPO 2008 (photo by Messe Muenchen)
Also of interest was a company from Quebec by the name of Indiania Sportswear. They are currently making plans to branch into equestrian clothing and, after the ISPO, met with MFN Sportsline, a manufacturer and distributor of high-end equestrian clothing in Southern Germany to discuss a cooperation. Their new line is in the planning and should be out sometime this summer.
Held at the same time and in the same building as the ISPO was the two-day European Sports Sponsoring Congress, one of the largest events for sports sponsorship in Europe. The Director of Equestrian Sports Sponsoring of the LGT Liechtenstein private bank, Dr. Hans-Martin Uehlinger, held an enlightening talk about the high returns that can be expected for industry from sports sponsoring, and equestrian sponsoring in particular. Especially in Germany, equestrian sponsorship continues to be on the rise, with a high number of firms pushing into the Equestrian Market. The latest addition to these is the international consultancy firm CCM (www.cccm-solutions.de). The company, which also assists foreign companies setting up business operations in Germany, swears by equestrian sports as a marketing platform. "I think that, especially for Europe, equestrian sports is rapidly taking over as one of the major sports sponsoring platforms for middle to large size enterprise," CEPO Michael Schwenk said. "The network opportunities at such events are priceless, and it is an important tool for customer binding also. We were in our first year of equestrian sponsorship last year and have had plenty of positive feedback, both in terms of increased exposure and customer satisfaction. Our main clients enjoyed very much to be invited to some of the major equestrian events, which stand for elegance, power and high profile sports performance."
Dr. Hans-Martin Uehlinger of the LGT Bank (Equestrian Sponsorship Division)
Last but not least on the list of events to be held during the ISPO Week were the Volvo Sports Design Awards, which go to environmentally friendly sports design from around the world, in several categories, among them clothing. The outdoor jacket called "Strom Tracks" by the small British company Finisterre, is not only fully waterproof and breathable, but also very smart to look at and would make an ideal equestrian outdoor wear, according to one of the Finisterre representatives.
Finisterre at the Volvo Sports Design Awards
Challenge Race of Marc Webber: http://www.markwebber.com/about/challenge.cfm
European Sports Sponsoring Congress: www.esbonline.com
Volvo Sports Design Awards: http://www.ispo-sportsdesign.com/