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Virgin gets $10.4 million of coverage from $250k F1 investment
Sir Richard Branson is smiling all the way to the bank after Sunday.
Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, which spent an estimated US$250,000 sponsoring the Brawn GP team at the Australian Grand Prix, achieved global TV coverage worth US$10.428 million according to figures compiled by SportsPro magazine.

SportsPro, which uses the Margaux Matrix Digital Eye scanning system that minutely analyses every brand featured in the host TV feed from Formula One Management, calculates that the Brawn team was on screen for 42 minutes 38 seconds during the qualifying and race broadcasts. Of that time the Virgin logos were fully exposed for 8 minutes 56 seconds. The next best team was Ferrari which had 21 minutes 14 seconds of TV, half that of Brawn GP. In the United Kingdom alone the media value was estimated at UK£347,600.

The 1-2 success of the Brawn team’s Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello in both qualifying and the race delivered a totally unexpected bonanza for Branson’s Virgin, which is sponsoring the Brawn team for the first two races at the rate of US$250,000 a race. The deal was signed only hours before the race weekend started. The team are hot favorites to win next weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, a result that would deliver another media feat for Branson. Branson is currently in negotiations to become a full-time sponsor of the team and then take a 50 per cent equity stake in Brawn GP Ltd.

Tom Rubython, editor in chief of SportsPro magazine, said: “This demonstrates the global power of Formula One. Branson has benefited from a very savvy deal when the team was down on its luck. But it is a doubled-edged sword as for sure the cost of his title deal and equity stake will have multiplied by four after the weekend. Brawn GP, which was worthless before Sunday, now is worth at least US$75 million after its success.“

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