F1 Continues To Be ‘Premium Playground’ For Sports Sponsorship

[Editor's Note: When you have a huge TV audience sponsors pay huge sums of money to sponsor the sport. Worldwide F1's TV ratings dwarf even NASCAR. Meanwhile IndyCar sticks with NBCSN instead of putting all of its races on ABC/ESPN (that would include ESPN International worldwide distribution), hence sponsors don't come and the teams rely on ride buyers. A broken business model. If you think small, you will remain small. IndyCar will remain small under current ownership.]

The 2013 F1 season may have seen the departure from the series of at least two big sponsors — Vodafone and LG Electronics — "but the arrival of many other groundbreaking partnerships proves that the series continues to be one of the premium playgrounds for sports sponsorship," according to Brad Spurgeon of the N.Y. TIMES.

Corporations "flock to it to cultivate a variety of products, services and company objectives, depending on their needs of the moment." In interviews with several major sponsors of individual teams, races and the overall series, "a leitmotif of satisfaction, development and efficiency emerged."

Still, team directors are never satisfied with the number of sponsors they have, "and some say the series still has much work to do to attract new sponsors." Sauber Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn said, "I think the trend has continued that it is very tough to get new sponsors. And I think that is something that we as teams should consider to look at collectively to see what is lacking to attract more sponsors." McLaren Mercedes Marketing Dir Ekrem Sami said that "the advent of using social media to promote a brand within the sport in the last few years was the biggest recent change in the series' marketing and sponsorship activities."

But he said that "the financial crisis had also had an effect, especially on changing sponsors' expectations." Sami: "A lot of companies can no longer afford to make it one dimensional, so they have to leverage the partnership across many different dimensions." But he said that "the best indicator of the health of the sport was the kind of sponsors it held onto or recently attracted."

He "cited as examples this year's additions of Coca-Cola, via its burn energy drink; RIM, through its Blackberry brand; UPS; Rolex; the Emirates airline; Unilever, via its Rexona and Clear brands; and his team’s GSK brands and Proctor & Gamble via its Gillette brands." N.Y. TIMES

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