Jaromír Jágr will become the face of lottery firm Sazka in three-year contract
Czech ice hockey legend Jaromír Jágr will begin appearing on billboards and in TV ad slots for the lottery firm Sazka, which has been in administration since May, at the start of next month. In return, Sazka will become the main sponsor of Jágr’s hometown hockey club in Kladno, where he began playing in his youth and of which he became the majority owner in June.
“Sazka is a game, Sazka is sport and Sazka is a tradition … I simply trust in Sazka,” Jágr, 39, said in a press release cited by Hospodářské noviny (HN) on Friday.
“Sazka will be the club’s general partner and its logo will appear on the [club’s] dress. The design of the dress is still being discussed and I have received the first [design] proposal in the mail,” Sazka spokeswoman Lenka Tichá told the daily.
Neither of the parties of the deal revealed the value of the contract, but HN cited a former functionary at HC Kladno as saying the deal is probably worth between Kč 8 million and Kč 10 million a year. According to the daily’s information, Kladno will have a budget of around Kč 70 million in the 2011-2012 season, which is reportedly below the average in the top professional Czech league, the Extraliga. The club will unveil the new dress on August 30.
Jágr the savior
Kladno’s future in the Extraliga was in doubt after the club’s previous main sponsor Vagnerplast announced at the end of the 2010-2011 season that it would not renew its sponsorship deal due to financial difficulties and then speculation that the club would have to sell its license. Jágr then stepped in and purchased a majority stake in the club for an undisclosed sum. At the same time, the town of Kladno became the minority shareholder.
The club has struggled in recent years both financially and on the ice, ending in and surviving the play-out group for the last three seasons. The club, which has consistently produced prominent players, was most successful from 1974 until 1975; it won five playoff trophies in six seasons. In 1978 the club played several matches with NHL teams and beat the Chicago Blackhawks and the Toronto Maple Leafs.