Dragon boat festival sponsor Nortel jumps ship

Nortel will not continue as title sponsor of the Ottawa Dragon Boat Race Festival after nine years, the company announced just a day after the events most successful year ever. The festival hosted 5,000 racers, 60,000 attendees and netted more than $250,000 for charity on June 23-24 weekend, but could be left treading water if it doesn’t find a new headline sponsor for 2008. The company’s decision to abdicate top spot was based on a commitment to focus on its involvement with the Tour Nortel race and the CHEO telethon. Nortel, which made a direct contribution of $50,000 to this year’s festival, says it will continue its association with the festival but in a lesser role. The telecom equipment maker and festival organizers believe that the high-profile event will have little trouble finding a new name sponsor. Corporate support for the festival was up 120%, with companies like Dell, Labatt, Tim Hortons, Pepsi and BMO signing on as sponsors this year.

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