Norway’s downhill skiing star Aksel Lund Svindal is on his way to becoming the country’s most valuable athlete. His sponsor income is soaring after his winter of roaring down the slopes.
Lund Svindal recently signed a deal, for example, with equipment maker Head that reportedly pays him NOK 16 million over two years, according to TV2.
Lund Svindal earlier had a deal with rival equipment maker Atomic, and its chief told TV2 that his firm wanted to retain Lund Svindal, but Atomic couldn’t match Head’s offer.
Lund Svindal also has a variety of other sponsorships, including drinks maker Red Bull.
Lars Martin Kaupang of Sponsor- and Eventforeningen, a sponsoring organization, told Aftenposten that cross-country skier Petter Northug “can win hundreds of Olympic gold medals, but he’ll never have the market value of Aksel Lund Svindal.” That’s because alpine skiing is far more popular in the rest of the world than cross-country skiing.
Lund Svindal (shown above on the winners’ podium at the World Cup) had a good season, winning Olympic medals as well. His earnings are believed to be approaching those of football stars, and some estimate his fortunes at NOK 50 million.
Kaupang estimates Lund Svindal can be valued as highly as Norwegian soccer star Ole Gunnar Solskjær, the former Manchester United player. “And what’s interesting here is that Lund Svindal (like Solskjær) manages to express security, self-confidence and humility all at the same time,” Kaupang told Aftenposten. “Therefore he appeals to very many, both as a person and as an athlete.”
Lund Svindal suffered one loss this week, though: Marius Arnesen, his coach as head of Norway’s national alpine skiing team, decided not to renew his contract with the Norwegian skiing association. Arnesen said he simply got tired of all the traveling and the toll it was taking on his family.
Lund Svindal said he joined others in trying to convince Arnesen to continue, but wasn’t successful. “Marius gave me a sense of security, that allowed me to turn many decisions over to him,” Lund Svindal said. Arnesen has had an average of 200 travel days a year for the past 12 years.