Russian ice hockey club Severstal has signed a four-year partnership with sports betting operator Fonbet, with the duo planning on leveraging the deal for fan engagement purposes.

The agreement will see the duo collaborate on souvenir and gift giveaways across their respective social media channels and at the Cherepovets Ice Palace, the home of the Tasarov Division, Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) side.

“Severstal is one of those clubs that make the Kontinental Hockey League what it is today. For the past 65 years, it has been representing regional athletics with pride on the all-Russian arena,” remarked Alexander Paramonov, Director General of Fonbet. “The team is home to talented players like Vadim Shipachev and Pavel Buchnevich. Dmitry Kagarlitsky, Vladimir Vorobyov and many of our other stars grew up in Cherepovets.”

In securing an official partnership with the team, Fonbet is continuing its focus on ice hockey-related sports marketing in its domestic sector, building on an agreement with the Salavat Yulaev team last month which secured prominent brand advertising across the team’s kit and arena.

More significantly, the operator has also struck an agreement with the KHL itself in what it has described as a ‘strategically valuable partnership’ due to ice hockey’s status as the national sport of Russia. 

Speaking to SBC News, the firm explained: “Unlike most countries, where no other sport even comes close to football in terms of popularity, in Russia, hockey is considered the national sport. We win a lot, have lots of traditions as well as one of the strongest national teams in the world. 

“Entire regions of the country are considered major fan bases. In fact, the rating of KHL streams is often higher than for RPL matches. For us, hockey is a priority sport, and we regard cooperation with the KHL as a strategically important asset.”

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