Despite a partnership of more than 25 years, Ironman has “dropped” Subaru after signing a new Global deal with Vietnamese company VinFast. Its partnership with Subaru was one of the longest running sponsorship deals Ironman has ever had.
A deal signed last month makes VinFast the title sponsor of the Ironman World Championship starting this year through to 2025, and the Ironman 70.3 World Championship starting in 2023, also through 2025. Founded in 2017, VinFast, Vietnam’s first EV brand, becomes the exclusive electric vehicle partner of the Ironman and Ironman 70.3 Series in the United States, Europe and Asia through 2025.
“The VinFast announcement did catch us by surprise,” said Dave Forrest, Senior Director, Vehicle Operations, Fleet and Sponsorship at Subaru Canada. “On July 22 we were given a few hours notice that they had signed a new title partner whose rights would include Canada.”
For more than a quarter of a century Subaru has been the largest corporate sponsor of triathlon events in Canada. The company first got involved with triathlon races in the early 1990s with the President’s Choice Triathlon Series, which is now the Subaru Ontario Triathlon Series. It became a sponsor of Ironman Canada in Penticton in 1996 and became the title sponsor of the event the following year. The company has been the title sponsor of Ironman Canada ever since, and has also served as the title sponsor of Ironman Mont-Tremblant since it debuted in 2012. Last year the company signed a two-year deal with Ironman to continue to sponsor all licensed and owned events in Canada.
The final Subaru Ironman events will take place in Mont-Tremblant this weekend, followed by Ironman Canada in Penticton the following weekend. In October company representatives will be on hand to celebrate the company’s final “Road to Kona” recipient. Subaru created the “Road to Kona” award to bring “a deserving athlete to the Island of Hawaii to compete at the Ironman World Championship. The athlete will be selected this weekend at Ironman Mont-Tremblant.
“Subaru remains committed to triathlon and we will continue as the presenting sponsor of the Subaru Triathlon series and selected other events in Canada,” Forrest said. “We encourage everyone to continue finding opportunities to push their personal limits and look forward to seeing them at one of our finish lines.”