"We have been searching for a long while to find something that is more in tune with our products. Extreme Ironing is extremely hot right now and is the perfect combination of electricity, heat and energy," says Grap Witz, Head of Vattenfall BU Sponsoring.
Extreme Ironing has been around for many years for instance in Germany and the UK and is a tough form of cross-country running where ironing equipment has to be carried by participants on their backs. At stations along the way, participants have to carry out ironing tasks which are graded.
"It is not an activity for weaklings. The board and the iron weigh between six and eight kilos. You also have to be mentally strong as it entails major pressure. I heard about the sport for the first time in an article in Time Magazine and realised that this was exactly what we needed," says Witz.
The first world championships were held outside Munich in 2002. Twelve teams participated then representing six countries, most of them men.
"We also see this as a way toward greater gender equality when it comes to carrying out household chores," according to Witz.
Up to now, Extreme Ironing is still a relatively unknown sport, but with Vattenfall's help, the WEIA, World Extreme Ironing Association, hopes that the sport will gain popularity.
"We are extremely happy. When we see the impact Vattenfall has had on skiing in Sweden, it makes you almost dizzy," says April Starch, the organisation's spokesperson.
Vattenfall Ironing Man
Witz does not wish to reveal how much money Vattenfall has invested in the sponsorship of the new extreme sports but does divulge that it is not an insignificant sum. The dream is to combine Extreme Ironing with another electrified sport.
"The goal is to start an annual e-Duathlon. The competition will be called Vattenfall Ironing Man and hopefully the first organised event will be in 2019, exactly 100 years since the electric iron was launched in Europe," says Witz.
The new agreement, which comes into force today on 1 April, does not impact Vattenfall's other sponsorship obligations.
Watch a video about Extreme ironing