Normally ION hands out the awards in hockey, now the title sponsor of the Belgian first league itself is winning trophies. As the title sponsor of the ION Hockey League, the property developer has won silver at the Belgian Sponsorship Awards. "And that after only our first season," say CEOs Davy Demuynck and Kristof Vanfleteren. "This is silver for a golden partnership. From the beginning, we felt a match with the sport and that we could make a difference just like in real estate. When we see how the hockey community has grown in no time and we have also become stronger as a company, we can be proud of that."
Since 22 February 2022, ION has been the title sponsor of the Belgian first division in hockey. 264 matches later, the company won silver at the Belgian Sponsorship Awards, held yesterday at Docks Dome in Brussels. These awards are presented by an expert jury to the best Belgian sponsorship cases of the year either in sport, culture or the social domain.
Three times as many followers
ION's first goal was to professionalise the Hockey League and expand the community. In addition to the financial input, the staff of ION also did their bit right from the start. They collaborated on the digital support of the league and lifted the whole experience for fans to the next level.
“We share the same ambition from the start: to work together to make the Belgian competition the best in the world. In the barely one year that we have been putting all our weight behind the sport, ION has ensured that we have been able to make great strides towards achieving that goal. They provide not only financial support, but also resources and advice. They took us through a completely new story around social media, provided a new website and an even more professional approach. We also sit together every week to see what could be even better and how we can make each other even stronger. And with success. The number of our followers on social media has tripled in one year. That is a bonus for the sponsor, but certainly also for the sport.”
Cédric Deleuze, president ION Hockey League
ION has introduced a lot of new features and will continue to do so. An ION Player of the Match is chosen after every match and the playoffs are in the process to be completely revamped. The ION Hockey Finals in May, the apotheosis of the championship for both the women and men, welcomed more than 8,000 spectators. A new media contract was also negotiated, allowing 28 matches to be broadcasted live on Telenet, Proximus, VOO, Sporza, Bx1 and recently RTBF. In turn, all highlights end up on a YouTube channel and are sent to 30,000 hockey fans every week. We are working on a whole new gamification based on hockey prognostic, a new step in fan activation.
“Being best in class: that is not only our ambition as a real estate stakeholder, but also as a sponsor. We said from the beginning that we were going for a genuine partnership. We want to make the sport better, but through this sponsorship we also want to make our company better. In other words, we are really working on extra return for us. Independent media research already shows that the return on investment is many times our contribution.”
Kristof Vanfleteren, co-founder and CEO ION
“Hockey is also very present in cities where we, as developers, are expanding rapidly, and the audience is also very much in line with our target audience of buyers and investors. And at least just as important as all those figures: the sport represents the same core values as our company does. Competitiveness, but in a respectful and sportsmanlike manner. That is why we are so proud of this silver award. It feels like gold, but also challenges us to do even better.”
Davy Demuynck, co-founder and CEO ION