F1 In Talks With Vodka, Telecom Companies About Possible Sponsorship Deals
F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone "has revealed that he is negotiating multi-million dollar sponsorship deals with a vodka brand, which would become the official spirit of F1, and a mobile phone operator," according to Christian Sylt of the London TELEGRAPH. Ecclestone said, "We are chasing one or two people that want to be involved. We are looking at phones and drinks. People like vodka and things like that, they are out there." Luxury goods giant LVMH "is thought to be in pole position to land the vodka deal with its Belvedere brand." While Belvedere is distributed internationally, "it does not enjoy as wide recognition as rivals such as Smirnoff and Absolut." However, Belvedere President Charles Gibb said, "There are no discussions taking place with F1." It is "unclear with which telecoms company F1 is in talks." The leading brand in the sport is Vodafone, which had an advertising presence "at five races last year and spends an estimated $75M annually as title sponsor of the McLaren team." Advertising and sponsorship "generated 14.7% of F1’s $1.5 Brevenue in '11." There are 10 official F1 partners including UBS and Rolex. The cost of becoming an official F1 partner "tends to be several times less than that charged for title sponsorship of a top team." Partners get trackside signage rights and use of the F1 brand in advertising for an annual cost of around $15M (TELEGRAPH, 12/9). AUTO BILD noted "F1's only drink partner is G.H. Mumm Champagne." F1 "has made energy drink producers Red Bull famous, but it does not have an official partnership" with the Austrian-based company (AUTO BILD, 12/10).