Courtesy of White Castle

The fast food chain has extended its partnership with USA Luge.

Mike Pomranz
Updated January 22, 2019

One of the hottest trends in food marketing, apparently, is using the double meaning of a common word to spur a promotional tie-in with an often-overlooked winter sport! Two years ago, Cheetos — the self-proclaimed master of the cheese curl — used a pun as their reasoning for sponsoring USA Curling as the team pursued their dream of medaling at the 2018 Winter Olympics. (The men’s team took gold so don’t knock the hustle!) Now, today, White Castle announced that they too were sticking with their pun-based winter sport sponsorship: The burger chain has extended its official partnership with USA Luge, assuring that “the nation’s two foremost slider experts” will be working together in the lead up to the 2019 Luge World Championships in Winterberg, Germany.

Yes, that town name sounds super fake (it’s actually very real!) but don’t worry: The strange names are just beginning. White Castle’s continued partnership also means an extension of USA Luge’s largest recruitment program: the White Castle USA Luge Slider Search. White Castle explains that over 1,200 youth have participated in these free clinics the last two years, and the program has been “responsible for discovering 65 percent of all current junior athletes in the USA Luge system and three of six athletes competing in the 2019 Luge World Championships.” It just goes to prove my theory that if you offer kids White Castle, they will luge!

“At White Castle, we’ve been honing our slider skills for 98 years, and we’re always interested in opportunities to further our expertise,” Lynn Blashford, vice president of marketing at White Castle, said in the announcement. “As a family-owned business, we understand exactly what it takes to add to the team, and we’re excited to continue our partnership with USA Luge to share the sport of luge and discover the next generation of USA Luge sliders.”

If you have a child aged nine through 13 who might be interested in being pulled into the world of competitive luging thanks to the lure of a fast food sponsorship, this year’s White Castle USA Luge Slider Search will kick off in Columbus, Ohio, in early May with additional stops coast-to-coast to be announced at a later date.

“We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with White Castle to bring the Slider Search to cities around the country this off-season to share the sport of luge and find new, young athletes to add to the successes of USA Luge,” Gordy Sheer, USA Luge director of marketing and sponsorships and a 1998 Olympic silver medalist, stated. “Over the first two years of our partnership with White Castle, we saw an incredible ninety percent increase in youth that were introduced to the sport through the Slider Search.” Who knew White Castle could be the first stop on your path to an Olympic medal?!

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