White Plains, NY – December 14, 2006 -- Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., (NYSE:HOT) and Special Olympics announced today the launch of a three year, global partnership naming Starwood Hotels as the exclusive hotel sponsor of Special Olympics and the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai, China. The sponsorship includes financial and in-kind support from Starwood. In addition, Starwood will broadcast Special Olympics public service announcements on its internal television channel in its hotels.
In connection with the new partnership, Starwood has launched a cause-related marketing campaign with Special Olympics. Starwood will donate $50 dollars to Special Olympics for every Westin Heavenly Bed, Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Bed and Four Points by Sheraton Four Comfort bed sold through Starwood retail channels, up to $150,000, until June 30, 2007.
“The partnership between Starwood and Special Olympics exemplifies two organizations working together to create mutual value,” said Bruce Pasternack, Special Olympics President & CEO. “This partnership encompasses brand alignment, employee engagement, cause marketing value, and relationship value. It clearly demonstrates Starwood's belief that our movement will have an impact on the bottom line of their business."
“As a socially responsible corporate citizen, Starwood is proud to partner and support organizations like the Special Olympics that embrace inclusion and provide programming that truly changes people’s lives,” said Steven J. Heyer, Chief Executive Officer for Starwood Hotels, who is also an active member of the Board of Directors of Special Olympics, Inc. “This unique global sponsorship will help increase public awareness of the Special Olympics, enhance our corporate social responsibility mission and further strengthen our brand presence in important travel markets and diverse local communities.”
The 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games will be held in Shanghai, People's Republic of China. The event will mark the first time the World Summer Games will be held in Asia, and only the second time they will be held outside the United States. In addition to some 7,000 athletes, Special Olympics expects the 2007 World Summer Games to draw 40,000 volunteers, 3,500 event officials and thousands of families, volunteers, spectators and journalists from every region of the world.
Special Olympics athletes of all ability levels will compete in 24 different Olympic-type sports: aquatics, athletics, badminton, basketball, bocce, bowling, cricket, cycling, Dragon Boat racing, equestrian, football (soccer), golf, gymnastics, handball, judo, kayaking, powerlifting, roller skating, sailing, softball, table tennis, tennis, volleyball and the Motor Activities Training Program.
As corporate social responsibility is becoming an increasingly visible corporate metric – a partnership with Special Olympics can prove to be strategic and valuable to a corporation. Partnerships with Special Olympics offer a unique branding opportunity for any corporation. Special Olympics offers corporations the opportunity to extend its brand through local grassroots relevance in communities while maintaining global strength and presence. Special Olympics community-based programming, initiatives and World Games provide corporate supporters with real and tangible evidence that their support makes a difference.
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives by promoting understanding, acceptance and inclusion between people with and without intellectual disabilities. Through year-round sports training and athletic competition and other related programming for 2.25 million children and adults with intellectual disabilities in more than 150 countries, Special Olympics has created a model community that celebrates people’s diverse gifts. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org.
About Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with approximately 850 properties in more than 95 countries and 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood® Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels and resorts with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, Sheraton®, Westin®, Four Points® by Sheraton, W®, Le Méridien and the recently announced AloftSM and ElementSM brands. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.