September 14 - Sainsbury's has signed up as a commercial partner of the British Paralympic Association (BPA) in a four-year-deal that will include the Sochi 2014 Winter and Rio 2016 Summer Games, it was announced today.
The agreement, which sees the supermarket giant join BT as an official partner of the BPA, starts in January 2013.
The tie-up gives Sainsbury's sponsorship rights involving both the organisation and ParalympicsGB (pictured top) through the BPA's Joint Marketing Programme.
It comes after the retailer sealed an historic deal with London 2012 in May 2010 to serve as its inaugural Tier One Paralympics-only sponsor until the end of this year.
However, today's announcement means the relationship will, in effect, continue through to the end of 2016.
Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King said he was delighted to announce the sponsorship deal.
"Our long-standing relationship with the BPA has been a source of great personal pride," King told insidethegames.
"ParalympicsGB had an incredibly successful Games where they finished third on the medals table and the public support for our Paralympic athletes was humbling.
"By extending our partnership with the BPA through to 2016 we can help athletes, coaches and support staff build on their success in London and look forward to even greater medal success in Rio in 2016."
Sponsorship will be leveraged initially through a new activation programme called Sainsbury's Active Kids For All which was launched today to promote inclusive PE and sport in schools and communities.
"I am delighted that Sainsbury's will be continuing its partnership with the BPA on the road to Rio," said BPA chief executive Tim Hollingsworth, who will hope the deal will be the first of many following a hugely successful London 2012.
"It demonstrates how successful our relationship has been through to London 2012 and sends a clear signal that the Paralympic Movement in this country is a very attractive proposition for major companies.
"Our 2012-2017 Strategic Plan outlines our intention to build on the momentum coming out of the London 2012 Games for the benefit of the Paralympic Movement in the UK – and so to have this relationship in place so soon is fantastic."
As part of its sponsorship of the London 2012 Paralympics Sainsbury's has involved its staff through a number of initiatives, such as a local Paralympian scheme which introduced store members to their local athletes.
The ParalympicsGB team also featured heavily in Sainsbury's-sponsored short-form films on Channel 4, the host broadcaster of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and its advertising which featured high-profile ambassadors including gold medal-winning swimmer Ellie Simmonds and footballer David Beckham.
"To have a partner with the reach and customer base of Sainsbury's is an incredible opportunity for the BPA," said director of marketing and communications Jane Jones.
"To have them on board now, joining BT who signed in 2010, is a great start to the Rio cycle.
"Our ambition is to have a family of partners who share our values and want to help us drive the Paralympic Movement here in the UK."
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September 2012: Sainsbury's announce London 2012 Paralympic Games legacy project
August 2012: Beckham appears alongside Paralympic stars to launch Sainsbury's sponsorship of London 2012
June 2012: David Beckham pays surprise visit to Sainsbury's Million Kids Challenge winning school
January 2012: Channel 4 to show second series of Sainsbury's London 2012 films
November 2011: Sainsbury's launch first London 2012 Paralympic campaign featuring Beckham