In a potentially sensational deal that should enhance the visibility of the brand, Arena has agreed to work together with Red Bull, the big international drinks company noted for supporting the most daring human exploits, to establish a new record in cliff diving. It now stands at below 28 meters, the equivalent of an eight-story building. Arena will try to develop by next year a new swimsuit that will protect the sensitive parts of the divers' body and to help direct their plunge into the water from higher altitudes at speeds of more than 85 kilometers per hour.
This project is part of a partnership announced a few days ago by the Italian swimwear brand with the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, an annual series of spectacular contests, created in 2009, which is held in a limited number of venues around the globe. Arena will provide the equipment for the divers as well as official clothing for judges, service personnel, and all technical staff.
The 2013 edition of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series includes eight events on four continents, showcasing the world's best divers from seven different countries, as well as young talents. After the first event took place at La Rochelle, on the French Atlantic coast, on May 24-25, the tour will move on to Copenhagen, the Azores, Malcesine in Italy, Boston in the U.S., Abereiddy in Wales, and Nitéroi near Rio de Janeiro before to the final event, scheduled to take place in Thailand, on Oct. 26.
Arena says it hopes that, through its sponsorship and marketing activities, its partnership with Red Bull will help grow the sport. High diving has been added for the first time to the program of the 2013 Fina World Championships in Barcelona, which will take place from July 19 to Aug. 4 this summer, with a 27-meter event for men and an 18-meter event for women.
At Arena, the new cliff diving development project is led by Greg Steyger, a newly recruited product manager who is also leading its new development of a specific line of clothing for triathlon. The 44-year-old worked previously on compression clothing for Skins in South Africa and Australia.
Arena has been making other investments in the growing sport of triathlon lately, although it is expecting additional sales of no more than €500,000 in the first year. It recently signed a sponsorship agreement with the Italian Triathlon Federation, previously associated with TYR, and with a couple of Spanish triathlon champions, Iván Raña and Alejandro Santamaría.
The triathlon project revolves around Arena's well-known new generation of Powerskin Carbon Pro racing swimsuits. To protect its technological know-how in the sector, Arena set up a new company last Feb. 1, Powerskin R&D, together with Punto Azzurro, an Italian company near Bergamo that has been making its swimsuits for the past eight years in Italy and Slovakia.
With the establishment of this company, Arena has secured the exclusivity of Punto Azzurro's collaboration in the water sports sector. Cristiano Portas, president of Arena, is also the president of Powerskin R&D, which is controlled by Arena. Roberto Losa is the chief executive of Punto Azzurro, a company that recently took over the management of Vist, another high-tech Italian company involved in skiwear. Founded in 1984, Punto Azzurro has been making skiwear for Vist and other major brands such as Kjus at factories in Slovakia and Moldova. More on Arena in the next issue.