German retail giants Aldi will be the first Official Supermarket Partner of the British Olympic Association (BOA) on the road to Rio 2016, it has been announced.
Under the agreement, the company will work with the BOA to deliver key initiatives, including Get Set, the organisation's youth engagement programme, and Home-Grown Heroes, an initiative to connect local athletes with their local community.
Although the choice of Aldi over British supermarkets has raised eyebrows, particularly given the history of sporting rivalry between Britain and Germany, the partnership is a sign of the Essen-based company's growing focus on markets in the United Kingdom.
Promoting low-budget and affordable food, the supermarket chain currently employs 24,000 staff and operates over 560 stores in Britain, with plans for further growth to reach 1,000 stores by 2022.
The deal will be a strong way to raise the profile further.
"Everyone associated with Team GB is thrilled to have a partner which has so captured the imagination of the British public," said BOA chairman Sebastian Coe.
"They are a great and growing British employer and are championing British produce and suppliers.
"Their support is a huge boost in our efforts to get the nation inspired in the run up to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games."
"Our partnership with Team GB is the perfect way to celebrate our landmark 25th anniversary in the UK and we are proud of the investment Aldi has made in Britain over the last 25 years," said Barnes.
"Our passion to offer our customers access to fresh, affordable and healthy food is unrivalled."
The partnership is also another boost for BOA chief executive Bill Sweeney, who since replacing Andy Hunt in 2013 has engineered deals with other major companies including sofa manufacturer and retailer DFS, krow communications, Deloitte and Fitness First.
"We're delighted to have Aldi join us on our road to Rio 2016 and their support will play a key role in the team's success at the Olympic Games," he said
"Their drive for excellence matches our own and we're looking forward to working with them on our community and sporting engagement programmes, as well as supporting the athletes heading out to Brazil next year.
"Aldi is a growing, impressive brand in the UK and is a great fit with Team GB."
British supermarket Sainsbury's have long been a major supporter of both British Athletics and the British Paralympic Association, but this marks the first time the BOA has partnered with a supermarket.
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December 2014: BOA unveils DFS as official Team GB homeware partner for Rio 2016
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July 2014: BOA unveil krow communications as latest commercial partner in build-up to Rio 2016
June 2014: Fitness First appointed partner of BOA to boost performance on road to Rio 2016