Dorna's Grassroots Efforts Key In Attracting Potential Sponsors To MotoGP
Dorna Commercial Area Managing Dir Pau Serracanta said that the most difficult task in attracting new sponsors is convincing them that MotoGP is the right place to be. While MotoGP’s list of official sponsors, Grand Prix title sponsors, suppliers and service providers includes well-known brands such as BMW, Bridgestone, Red Bull and Hertz, the motorcycle series is always scouting for new companies and businesses that are interested in aligning themselves with the sport. Serracanta said, “We are always talking to companies. We never stop.” This relentless pursuit has resulted in several new sponsorships in Southeast Asia and Russia, which are very important regions for the sport’s global expansion. For example, Malaysian energy drink brand Drive M7 has signed a deal as the official title sponsor of the Spanish Aspar MotoGP team. In addition, Kazakhstan’s Eurasian Bank has become an official sponsor of the Yamaha Factory Racing team. While neither sponsorship is with MotoGP itself, Dorna understands that team and rider sponsorships are just as important for the growth of the sport. “We like to work with all the stakeholders, in this case the teams and manufacturers, knowing that we are all in the same boat and that we have to row in the same direction,” Serracanta said. If a company is interested in getting involved in MotoGP but is looking more for the emotional aspect of the sport then Serracanta said he will get them in contact with a particular team or rider and make it happen. Serracanta: “What is important for us is to drive the sponsorship money to our sport and not to other sports.”
LOCAL HEROES: To make sure that potential sponsorship money does not end up in other sports, MotoGP is trying to create a local connection. Dorna has discovered over the years that a key asset in attracting sponsors in new markets is having riders from that particular territory competing in the sport. “That is why we work from the grassroots to try to have participants from as many countries as possible,” Serracanta said. Besides MotoGP, which it started managing in ’92, Dorna has several youth motorcycle competitions in its portfolio. In ’98, the sports management company took control of the CEV, which is the Spanish National Championship. It also launched, together with co-organizer Red Bull, the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup in ’07 and will run the new Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup, which will make its debut this year. Current MotoGP world champion Marc Márquez as well as former world champions Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner are just three of a long list of riders who raced in the CEV.
THREE PILLARS: Dorna’s strategy of starting at a grassroots level to develop future world champions is not only helpful in acquiring sponsors but also in increasing MotoGP’s brand recognition. Due to the simple fact that it is a global series, MotoGP approaches multinational companies that may not value a local connection as much as high exposure. In such a case, the series’ current list of sponsors provides credibility to the sport. “If you say that a company such as BMW is with us, it is almost like a warranty that this is a globally recognized sport,” Serracanta said. While sponsorship income accounts for less than a third of MotoGP’s annual revenue, its importance for the sport’s growth far outweighs this number. The series’ annual revenue is based on three pillars, events, media and commercial deals, which includes sponsorships, Serracanta said. However, with new broadcast deals in the U.K. with BT Sport and in Italy with Sky Italia, among others, income in the media area will be a little higher this year. “But it won’t be a big difference. All three pillars are quite equal,” Serracanta said.