The organizing body for the Milan Cortina 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games has today (July 27) announced Italian retail firm Esselunga as the first sponsor for the event.

According to the announcement, Esselunga will be strengthening its commitment to the local community of that northern Italian region, with this commitment also said to be an “essential aspect” of the organizing committee’s strategy for the games.

Vincenzo Novari, the organizing committee’s chief executive, said: “The process of consolidating our commercial positioning is only beginning. This is the first in a series of agreements of great value that will soon be announced and that will be fundamental for carrying out our games.”

Esselunga’s executive chairman, Marina Caprotto, added: “Supporting Italian-made products is one of our priority objectives. The decision to support the organizing committee of the Milano Cortina 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games correlates with our desire to make our contribution to further promote Italian excellence in the world and celebrate the values that sport represents.”

Esselunga was founded in Milan in 1957, and currently has around 25,000 employees across Italy, according to the official partnership announcement. 

The Milan Cortina 2026 Olympics will take place from February 6 to 22 that year, with the Paralympics to follow from March 6 to 15.

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For the previous Winter Olympics and Paralympics, held in Beijing, China, earlier this year, the full corporate partner list included: 13 worldwide Olympic partners; 11 official partners; 11 official sponsors; 10 official exclusive suppliers; and 13 official suppliers.