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Volume 10 No. 22

Marketing and Sponsorship

Red Bull Formula 1 confirmed that it will be rebranded from '18 as Aston Martin Red Bull Racing in the "latest step that could see the manufacturer entering the sport as an independent engine supplier," according to Jack de Menezes of the London INDEPENDENT. The four-time constructor world champion announced on Monday that a new title and innovation partnership has been agreed between the two companies that will also see a new "advanced" performance center built at Red Bull's base in Milton Keynes, England. Aston Martin President & CEO Andy Palmer said that moving into F1 "remains a possible future venture for the sportscar makers," although he stressed that the "right environment" would need to be created to prevent costs from "spiralling out of control." Palmer said in a statement, "Title partnership is the next logical step for our Innovation Partnership with Red Bull Racing" (INDEPENDENT, 9/25). In London, Alan Tovey reported privately-owned Aston Martin was previously Red Bull's "innovation partner," a "tie-up that led to the creation of the 200mph Valkyrie hypercar." The deal is expected to "usher in more products" from Red Bull's advanced performance center. Creating 110 jobs, the new center will be Aston Martin's second dedicated design center and "will be used to incorporate Formula 1 technology into road cars." The extended partnership "comes as Aston’s turnaround steps up a gear." In August, the Warwickshire-based business reported interim revenue of £410M ($552M), "nearly twice the level a year before." Aston Martin also posted a pre-tax profit of £21.1M ($28.4M), compared with an £82.3M loss last year (TELEGRAPH, 9/25). REUTERS' Alan Baldwin reported F1's engine regulations are changing after '20, "with calls for a simpler and cheaper power unit than the current 1.6 liter V6 turbo hybrid," and that could be "of interest to Aston Martin." Palmer said, "We are not about to enter an engine war with no restrictions in cost or dynamometer (testing) hours but we believe that if the FIA can create the right environment we would be interested in getting involved." Aston Martin "is owned mainly by Kuwaiti and Italian investors," with Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler holding a 5% stake, and is seeking to boost its share of U.S. markets (REUTERS, 9/25).

FAMILIAR ARRANGEMENT: MOTORSPORT's James Allen commented the dynamics of the partnership "are based around title sponsorship, rather than engine manufacturing or branding," and the team's chassis are not going to be known as Aston Martins. In that sense, this is a "very similar deal" to the one Red Bull had with Infiniti "during its dominant years" from '11-13. Aston Martin Red Bull Racing F1 team "has a serious problem to deal with in the short term, which is to find a competitive engine." It will lose its supply of Renault units from the end of '18, and "although it is testing out the works Honda engines in the Toro Rosso next season, few hold out much hope" that this will be the "silver bullet that ends Red Bull's weakness in this area." All "the noises from sources with knowledge of the Honda F1 project" suggest that the fixes necessary to change the management culture and make that engine competitive "are not in place and there is little sign of that changing" (MOTORSPORT, 9/25).

Barcelona "will reportedly no longer have Qatar Airways as its official airline," according to ECO DIARIO. This spring, the club reached an agreement in which the airline, Barcelona's shirt's sponsor from '13-14 until '16-17, "was to remain a club partner" in a deal worth €12M ($14.2M) per year through '22. Neymar's signing with Paris St. Germain -- which is owned by Qatar Sports Investments -- "however, has dissolved that agreement, which only lacked one signature to become official." Barcelona's relationship with Qatar dates back to '11, when Barcelona started wearing the logo of the Qatar Foundation on its uniform (ECO DIARIO, 9/25).

Australian brewing company Gage Roads "has slain" int'l beer brands and "won the lucrative contract to supply beer and cider at the new Perth Stadium," according to Gary Adshead of PERTH NOW. In an "extraordinary coup" for Gage Roads, which was formed in '02 and has about 40 employees, it "had to prove it could supply" 5,000 kegs of different variety beers over a five-day period before securing the multi-million dollar contract. Gage Roads "was up against the biggest brewing corporations in the world:" the Belgian-headquartered owners of Carlton & United Breweries, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Japanese-owned Lion. Perth Stadium CEO Mike McKenna said, "This appointment represents a significant milestone for this truly West Australian company." Named after the shipping channel between Fremantle and Rottnest Island, Gage Roads is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange at six cents a share. AB InBev on Sunday was worth about $147 a share on the London Stock Exchange and last year enjoyed a turnover of $46B (PERTH NOW, 9/25). The AAP's Angie Raphael reported Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan said on Monday that local jobs would be created under the five-year deal "and the strength of the product would also be enhanced nationally." McGowan: "It's a West Australian company providing beer at a West Australian stadium." But the Liquor Licensing director "is yet to make a decision on whether full or mid-strength beer will be available at the 60,000-seat stadium." McGowan said that he expected a decision later this year but would not be drawn into "beer politics" again, joking it was "worse than real politics" following a backlash in June when he said that he "only wanted mid-strength" beer at the stadium (AAP, 9/25).

Arsenal announced Vitality will remain its official health and wellness partner in the U.K. and South Africa. The company's rights were extended, making it an official partner of the Arsenal Women team. Vitality has been a club partner since June '14. The company, and parent company Discovery, will have access to men's and women's first-team players as well as former players to develop promotional and marketing activities (Arsenal). 

League Championship side Nottingham Forest announced Healthspan as the club's official vitamins and supplements partner. Healthspan is a U.K.-based direct supplier of vitamins and supplements and will provide products to first-team and academy players for the '17-18 season (Nottingham Forest). 

The New Zealand Women's Open named Qatar Airways the official airline for three editions of the tournament. The event features a $1.3M prize purse and will mark the first LPGA Tour event in New Zealand. Qatar Airways will have marketing and branding rights at the event. The tournament takes place at the Windross Farm golf course in Ardmore (GULF TIMES, 9/24).

Premiership Rugby side Exeter Chiefs and European regional airline Flybe announced a one-year extension to their sponsorship agreement. The airline's logo will be featured on the back of the club's playing shirts and on signage throughout Sandy Park Stadium (Exeter Chiefs). 

Super League side Wigan Warriors will continue to be sponsored by 188BET. The online betting operator secured a one-year extension as principal sponsor and betting partner and its logo will continue to be featured on the club's shirt (SBC, 9/25).

Pro14 side Zebre, which is owned by the Italian Rugby Union, announced Laumas Elettronica as a partner. The company logo will be featured on the back of the club's jersey at all matches (Zebre).