The International Biathlon Union World Cup will return to Presque Isle next winter at the Nordic Heritage Center.

The IBU World Cup 8 – the tour’s eighth stop on its nine-stop tour – will be held Feb. 11-14.

About 300 athletes from 32 countries are expected to compete in men’s and women’s races in sprint, pursuit and relay.

Jane Towle, the event director, said the races will provide great exposure for Aroostook County.

“There will be tremendous media exposure, especially in Europe where the prime-time televised broadcasts of our competition are the top-rated winter sports television programs,” she said.

She also stressed the economic development and social and cultural benefits that the World Cup provides. Towle said previous World Cups held in Aroostook County provided an estimated $6 million in financial benefits.

“I do know that we have a million dollar budget and it is spent right here in Aroostook County,” she said.

Aroostook County has previously hosted three World Cup biathlon events – two in Fort Kent, one in Presque Isle (the last in 2011) – and has also hosted two youth/junior world championships (the last in 2014).

Officials noted that the contributions of the Portland-based Libra Foundation provided a strong foundation that allowed the Nordic Heritage Sport Club to hold the World Cup event.

“The Libra Foundation’s recommitment of support for the operation and maintenance of our Nordic Heritage Center is key to our club’s ability to host major international events,” said Paul Towle, the president of the Nordic Heritage Sport Club. “It is absolutely essential.”

And, he added, “Hosting major events like the coming Biathlon World Cup are essential to sustaining operations at the Nordic Heritage Center, as well as our ability to continue offering the variety of year-round community programs and recreation opportunities our residents enjoy.”

Craig Denekas, the president and chief executive officer of the Libra Foundation, said the institution is committed to the Nordic Heritage Sport Club.

“We really like the direction it is heading in and our support is strong and I don’t see any changes in that,” said Denekas. “We like what they are doing.”

Aroostook County will be the only stop on the World Cup tour in the United States. The biathletes will arrive after competing in Calgary, Alberta, in IBU World Cup 7 and then leave for the world championships the following week in Europe.

Andy Shepard, the president of the Maine Winter Sports Center, said it should attract the top biathletes in the world.

“The races in the United States are the ones that everybody wants to come to because of the quality of the event here,” he said.

“The organizing committee here is as good or better than any in the world, and athletes love being part of events that are well-managed and have good community support.

“For that reason, plus the fact that athletes are accumulating points toward the world championships, I’m pretty sure we’ll see a full field, especially of the best athletes.”

Officials also announced that Pineland Farms (Naturally Potatoes) has signed on as a leading partner and corporate sponsor.