Football clubs seek long-term partnership with Formula One
Formula One and football are not too far apart in terms of their global appeal, and football is yet again trying its hand at breaking into the F1 market to raise global brand awareness.
Growing up as a youngster, you are usually either born into football or motorsport with the two often causing clashes on the sporting calendar with examples of a Grand Prix and an FA Cup final on the same day.
Nevertheless, activists have rubbished this supposition as football clubs look to redeem the profile of the partnership following the folding of motorsport's ‘Superleague Formula’ in 2011. The formula was the pioneering concept of open wheel single seater racing sponsored by football clubs.
The demise of Superleague Formula
The 2009 season was a particularly good year for the English persuasion with Liverpool’s Spanish driver Adrian Valles claiming overall victory and Tottenham Hotspur driver Craig Dolby claiming the silver gong. FC Basel driver Max Wissel came in third. Sounds strange doesn’t it?
However, the initial successes of Superleague Formula were short lived as the plight of the series set in rather instantaneously in 2011 with just six football clubs wishing to pursue their license into the fourth season.
The 2011 season took a different shape and here’s where association football took a forthright back seat in motorsport once more as nationalities took their place with Australia, Japan and Luxembourg making up the final top three, rather like the nation-based state of the A1 Grand Prix series which was hosted by former Sky Sports News enigma Georgie Thompson way back when. Can anybody remember?
But just a year on, football is ready to reignite its tentative love affair with motorsport once more and a range of examples emphasise just how determined football is to make headway in the potentially lucrative partnership.
In April this year and in the first sponsorship deal of its kind, Swiss Formula One team Sauber announced a coalition with English Premier League giants Chelsea, enabling the West London-based side significant brand exposure when Sauber travel far and wide across the globe.
Slot car enthusiasts Scalextric used to produce model cars with football logos draped across them in a bid to entice extra fandom but this is that exact concept for real as Sauber and Chelsea now reserve the rights to promote each other’s merchandise on a number of occasions.
Over the years we have grown familiar with several brands adorning Formula One cars with names such as Shell, Red Bull and countless tobacco brands such as Marlboro which used to dress proud outer shells of the racing cars before being scrapped and now football is replicating this tried and tested method.
Sauber chief executive Monisha Kaltenborn said: “A partnership like this between Formula One and football has never existed before in this form, yet there are numerous commonalities and possible synergies.”
The new link-up has been subtlety introduced by Sauber with various quips such as ‘out of the Blue’ and ‘True Blue’ being visibly present on the car’s engine covers throughout the duration of the early season.
In addition to direct partnerships between motorsport and football, many companies are now thinking about amalgamations between the two and this is clear to see when we take a look at some of the world’s largest business interests.
Tottenham Hotspur fans will recognise that software and human information company Autonomy adorned their famous Lilywhite jersey in the 2010/11 season and the same company could also be found on the Mercedes GP Formula One team’s cars in 2011.
Similarly in 2006, the Middle-Eastern airline and flag carrier Emirates announced a partnership with the McLaren Mercedes Formula One team as well as continuing its long-term partnership with Premier League giants Arsenal in carrying naming rights of their ‘Emirates Stadium’ and adorning ‘Fly Emirates’ on the Gunners kits ever since the 2006/7 campaign.
It’s all about exposure and prestige and companies cannot underestimate the power and global reach of Formula One and football with Grand Prix races stretching as far from Australia to Canada and top English clubs continually travelling to the Far East or the United States on lucrative pre-season tours.
It is only now that Formula One and football are coming together as one, and that is great news for both entrepreneurs and global business ventures.
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