Bernie Ecclestone has been in Dubai in recent days putting the final touches to a giant sponsorship deal with Emirates airline.
According to the Financial Times, the deal is worth $200 million over 5 years. This follows from the Global Partner deal struck with Rolex just before Christmas and the arrival of Blackberry yesterday with the Mercedes team on a $36 million 3 year deal.
The Emirates deal was announced this morning in Dubai and will cover most of the races, excluding the Bahrain and Abu Dhabi races which are sponsored by rival airlines Gulf Air and Etihad.
Emirates is very active in sports sponsorship; it backs Arsenal, Paris St Germain and AC Milan in top flight football. It did a toe in the water sponsorship with McLaren in 2006.
The influx of new sponsors is a positive sign for F1, as the world moves out of recession. Part of the key to these recent moves by companies looking to expand their presence internationally is the sport’s global reach and its presence in most of the key markets, like China, India, Brazil, and especially its renaissance in North America.
Speaking yesterday, Blackberry’s Frank Boulben said that this was
“the first consideration” for Blackberry when deciding to get into F1.
“We are a completely global brand,” he said. “So for us F1 was an ideal platform with its global footprint and also its recent strengthening in North America; in New York, Austin and Montreal. This was traditionally a region where there wasn’t as good a coverage so now it’s an ideal global platform. For the audience we want to touch, it’s a unique platform in the world of sports.”