Rabobank to exit top-level sports sponsorship

Dutch banking and financial services group Rabobank has announced that it will withdraw its sponsorship of top-level sport at the end of 2016.

In a statement, Rabobank confirmed that its partnerships with the Royal Dutch Cycling Union (KNWU), the Royal Dutch Equestrian Federation (KNHS) and the Rabo Development and RaboLiv cycling teams would not be renewed when they expire at the end of next year.

The company will instead shift its focus to local sponsorship deals. “We want to get nearby our customers, in a literal sense,” Heleen Crielaard, manager of sponsorship at Rabobank, said.

The statement released by the group confirmed that it is consulting with the Royal Dutch Hockey Association (KNHB) and the country’s National Olympic Committee regarding future sports sponsorship deals.

Huib Kloosterhuis, director of the KNWU, said: “Rabobank has been a steadfast partner of cycling for 20 years. The current strong position of the sport of cycling is partly due to Rabobank’s long-term support. Nonetheless, we regret that this partnership is coming to an end.”

Crielaard added: “Cycling and equestrianism have always been close to Rabobank’s heart, and they will continue to be in future. We will continue to support them on their way to the Olympic Games in Rio.”

Rabobank has been an active sponsor of cycling since 1996 and a partner of the RaboLiv women’s team for the past four years. It has been a principal sponsor of the KNHS since the body was founded.