KNSB looking for new chief sponsor: KPN to end partnership in mid-2020 after ten years


After ten successful years as chief sponsor of the KNSB (Dutch Skating Association), KPN will be ending this partnership in summer 2020. The present contract is due to expire and will not be extended. The fact that KPN has made this news public gives the KNSB more than a year to openly seek out a new chief sponsor.

Both parties can look back on a fruitful partnership that began in 2010 after the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. With the support of KPN, Dutch skating has been able to develop even further, “skating fever” took hold in winters in which it was cold enough to skate on natural ice, and a robust program was put in place to teach kids to skate. KPN also helped the KNSB to build the schaatsen.nl website; now the most popular skating website in the Netherlands, generating the most hits.

The Dutch favorites, both in speed skating and short-track, were particularly successful at the Winter Olympics in Sochi (24 medals) and PyeongChang (20 medals). Moreover, in the past ten years more than 400,000 KPN customers were able to attend skating events or even skate themselves on the Netherlands’ Coolest Rink in the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam, and other ice rinks throughout the country.


‘We can look back proudly over the past ten years; years in which, together, we bolstered the sport of skating’, says Mark Versteegen, KPN's Director of Sponsoring. ‘Skating is a great sport that everyone in the Netherlands has a soft spot for. We have embraced skating, both at the highest level and at the grass roots. That has had a positive effect on us, not least by enhancing KPN's reputation, the brand experience and, consequently, commercial success too. Together we are going to make the final season something to remember, before giving other businesses the chance to build just as warm a bond with the KNSB as the one we had.’

KPN's sport sponsorship after June 2020 will focus ever more on the existing partnership with the KNVB (Royal Netherlands Football Association), KPN being the main sponsor of the Eredivisie.

The KNSB's search for a new sponsor for skating in the Netherlands has already started. Exploratory talks are ongoing with a few potential key sponsors. The KNSB is open to all partners that are prepared to embrace skating at all levels. Recent studies show that both the popularity and the media value of skating are still very high.


‘We are proud of our terrific partnership and would like to thank KPN for everything that it has done since 2010 for the sport of skating. It was of great value’, says Herman de Haan, President of the KNSB. ‘It is a shame that our trusted relationship is coming to an end. But where one door closes, another opens. The fact that KPN is ending its association with us means that other businesses can become the chief sponsor of the winter sport that is both the most popular and has the widest reach in the Netherlands.’

Last summer Daikin, the world market leader in the field of air-conditioning, decided to commit to becoming chief sponsor of the KNSB. The most important aim of that partnership is to use skating as a way of reaching Dutch consumers with the aim of selling heat pumps. In addition to Daikin, there is room for the KNSB to enter into an association with one or more partners for skating in the Netherlands.

‘I can imagine that there are other businesses that feel they are a logical match for skating. KPN has shown how it is possible to use the commercial opportunities presented by our sport to good effect’, says Jeroen Kraaij, Marketing Manager at the KNSB. ‘We are a winter sport with a fan base of five million. When conditions are right for lakes and rivers to freeze over, we all get our skates out, and the Dutch follow competitive skating en masse, both on TV and live. The KNSB offers potential sponsors a platform with access to a large market across a wide cross-section of society, giving you the opportunity to bond with the Dutch public at large.