A passion for skiing brings together Milka and Anna Fenninger. The 2015 FIS Alpine World Cup overall winner will kick off the 2015-16 season sporting an iconic purple helmet in the great jubilee year – the 25th anniversary of the chocolate maker. For 20 years, Milka has played a role in promoting alpine ski racing and currently sponsors a team of women including Austrian Michaela Kirchgasser, Frechwoman Tessa Worley, Czech athlete Sarka Strachova, the Italian Elena Curtoni, and Slovene Tina Maze who is currently on a one-year break from competition.
Fenninger and Milka have agreed to a head sponsorship deal for the next four years, which was formally announced today in a press conference.
“As part of our collaboration with athletes, we are very proud of our new partnership with Anna Fenninger, the current best skier. It fits perfectly with our brand, as Milka and Anna combine values such as naturalness, authenticity, and earthiness. We look forward to a valuable partnership with her,” said Dieter Heger, international sponsorship manager at Milka.
“Milka is a brand which I grew up with, so I am very excited about this partnership,” Fenninger said. “It’s great to have such a reliable partner I know now officially at my side. I am already looking forward to my first (race) start with the purple helmet in Soelden.”
In the past 20 years Milka has sponsored a range of skiers including Anita Wachter, Hermann Maier, Luc Alphand, and Maria Hoefl-Riesch. But what is their recipe for a successful partnership?
“For me it is the right mix of professionalism and humanity. The personality has to fit our brand and common values. However, experience has also shown us again and again how important it is to cultivate a personal relationship with the partner,” said Heger. “We are very proud to welcome Anna Fenninger to the Milka Ski Stars team and it is a great pleasure for us to see you soon in the purple helmet on the slopes.”
Fenninger joins the international Milka Ski Stars team as its youngest current member. The Olympic champion and three-time world champion has already secured 14 World Cup victories and 43 podium finishes. The 2015-16 season will be her 10th winter on the World Cup tour and her first time with Milka as her head sponsor.
In the offseason Fenninger struggled in her negotiations with the Austrian Ski Federation (OSV) while her manager, Klaus Kaercher, came under fire from OSV President Peter Schroeksnadel for attempting to secure a conflicting sponsorship for the star athlete with the auto brand Mercedes, in direct competition of team sponsor Audi. Fenninger has since dissolved her management relationship with Kaercher and finalized a head sponsorship with Milka that conforms to team guidelines, but sources close to the matter have indicated that Kaercher was also instrumental in closing the deal with the chocolate brand.
“It was a long process … (but) we parted amicably and with respect. Thus, the issue is finished,” Fenninger said at the press conference.