Innovation. Ideas. Insight.

Formula One, sponsorship and opportunity in challenging times

In TSMWIF on April 4, 2009 at 8:45 am

Formula One is a fascinating sport for marketers. Massively popular, global and with a season that stretches for the better part of the year (March – November). It’s also an expensive sport that is reliant on sponsorship. You could spend the better part of a year reading and learning about the ups and downs of sponsorship in the sport. Brad Spurgeon, the excellent F1 correspondent for the International Herald Tribune has a great story on how the current global economic crisis is hitting F1.

The first race of the season, the recently completed Australian Grand Prix, was one by Brawn GP, a new team that picked up Virgin as a sponsor at the last minute.  Sir Richard Branson didn’t build an empire by sitting on the sidelines. Here’s the money quote:

“We see an opportunity,” he said. “There aren’t a lot of people out there who are willing to sponsor anything at the moment.

“Everyone is just frozen in the headlights of this recession, and if everybody stays frozen in the headlights of the recession, it’ll just get worse and worse.”

Brawn GP finish 1st & 2nd in their Virgin race, Branson celebrates (indeed).

Brawn GP finish 1st & 2nd in their Virgin race, Branson celebrates (indeed).

So, how did Brawn GP do in their very first race? The first race of the season that is watched by many millions of people around the world? They finished first and second!!

Not everyone has “Branson money” to play with, but are there opportunities, big or small, that you are not taking advantage of right now? Is there a vacuum in your industry that you can fill – probably at a significantly discounted rate? Now’s the time to get a jump on your competition.

UPDATE: PSFK takes a look at the changes, and opportunities, in F1.

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