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SBD Global/July 2, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Vodafone Reviews Global Sports Sponsorships, Including McLaren F1 Partnership

Vodafone is "reviewing its global sports and events sponsorships," including its longstanding association with F1 teams, according to Daniel Thomas of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The title sponsorship of the McLaren F1 team is "the only major global sporting right" held by Vodafone. The telecommunications company is "one of the most high profile brands at the races since the forced departure of tobacco companies." The review will "probably raise questions about its continued involvement." Vodafone renewed its sponsorship deal with McLaren in '10, but this expires at the end of the '13 racing season. One person familiar with the process said Vodafone’s sponsorship cost “tens of millions of pounds” every year. Such high costs need "to be evaluated" in the current economic climate that has stricken mobile phone businesses in many European markets. The source added that recent negative news stories about the races, including the events around the Bahrain Grand Prix and the corruption trial in Germany, were "less important." Vodafone declined to comment (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/1).
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