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Ecclestone lands $200 million sponsorship deal with Emirates
Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Feb 2013   |  8:40 am GMT  |  46 comments

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.”

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Great great picture there… we need more like him


Sponsorship of what, exactly, James… you don’t state? Title sponsor of the WC? Title sponsor of some races? Some signage allowed trackside at all the races? Or something else?


To be revealed


Already said, but worth doing so again…. I miss Mika Hakkinen! Amazingly, I believe Button and Kimi are the last drivers on the grid to have raced him….


Don’t forget Mark Webber & Fernando Alonso

Scuderia McLaren

Mark Webber never raced Mika Hakkinen.

Hakkinen retired at final race of 2001 in Japan. Webber debut race was Australia 2002 for Minardi. They didnt overlap. Massa also debut race in Australia 2002.

Alonso is correct though as is Button and Kimi.


Mark joined in 2002 replacing Fernando at Alonso who raced for Minardi in ’01 before moving onto Renault


Webber never raced him.


Off topic.

Nice to see the very pretty looking MP4-21.

But also a pretty damn awful car.


Qantas Australian GP???


Not any more, it’s Rolex sponsored


Qantas are still a major sponsor though, so Emirates will not appear at that race.


I can’t imagine a Rolex doing a flyover.


Slightly off-topic question, but related to F1 partnerships:

Does anyone know whether FanVision/Kangaroo TV will be replaced by another provider at the race venues this season?

I’ve rented their portable TVs at every grand prix I’ve been to. Can’t imagine not having the information (and James’ commentary!) available during the race.


@Blog_Raider – Its Mika Hakkinen i think, part of a special test set up – James, was it something to do with Johnny Walker drinks?


Let some of this money filter down to the teams that need it and make them more competative, producing a better spectacle for fans!


OH! In testing related news… McLaren already showing some problems.


Guess that’s their season then.


Or carried out a planned fuel starvation run…


Fuel pump problems.The mecanics changed the whole thing. But Jenson spent the whole morning outside the car. Now apparently it has been fixed and Jenson is back in action. Anyway it was a lot more interesting to see the flames in Rosberg´s car


Great analysis Kit and good thinking Anne.


Next time they should bring some red meat and chicken so they can make a nice BBQ for everyone. Just to do something extra with those flames coming from the lower back of the car


Merc’s tyre overheating issue has been solved. It’s now overcooling too much. The flames are part of the plan to solve the overcooling. By controlling the throttle, you control the amount of fuel that feeds the flame. It’s just a wee bit too much today. They just need to tune down the combustion. That’s what testing is for and that is to find the right amount of flame feed to heat the tyres.

Move along… situation’s normal… nothing extraordinary…


Arsenal, Milan and Paris St Germain. I wouldn´t be surprised if Podolski, Beckham and Balotelli become also test drivers or Pit stop crew for Hamilton


Right, this influx of sponsors proves the point that unpredictable races are just what the doctor ordered.

You see, fun races like Abu-Dhabi 2012 and US 2012, great a buzz in the media and thus all these brands get their logs slashed across the newspapers especially for the podium and pole drivers.

Of course with the US being the biggest market with the biggest spenders, the inclusion of the US grand prix will encourage many more companies to reach for the cheque book.

Regards the Blackberry deal, it’s interesting they didn’t attach themselves to the multi-champions drinks company ~ Red Bull and instead went for car giant ~ Mercedes


I guess they know their market


Not really:

If Blackberry sponsored RBR and their performance dropped (as it one day will), then they would look bad, but by attaching themselves to Mercedes, who by most accounts *should* be at or near the front in 2014, they also attach themselves to the idea that they can help you improve.

Might sound stupid, but that’s marketing.


I miss the looks of that F1 car in your article picture! Good old days…


I was thinking how dated it looks


Awesome car, was that Montoya or Kimi?


Looks like Hakkinen, that might have been the 1 off test he did with the team.


Looks like Mika Hakkinen to me. A bit of googling and I’m pretty sure it’s from when he tested the MP4-21.


Hakkinen, I think 🙂


Mika…now that was a strange test you wouldn’t get happening today.


Great news for F1 – come on then Bernie, let’s release a bit of pressure on the venues and let us get our tickets for a few quid cheaper!


Release the pressure on the venues and get some stability at sesnible venues with an audience that wants to be there, at a price they can afford.


I don’t really understand how this benefits F1? Is any of this money going to flow to the teams? Unlikely. Is any of this money going to make tickets cheaper, or Pay TV subscription costs cheaper? Unlikely. It seems the only group that benefit are the FOM. If anything every sponsorship deal struck up by the FOM means F1 suffers, as its removes candidates from the potential team sponsorship pool.


50% of the revenues from deals like this go to the teams.


Even if Caterham and Marussia are only pulling down 1 million a year from this deal, that is hardly peanuts. Nobody is going to say “I dont’ care if I get that or not”. That’s ridiculous. Teams like Caterham and Marussia will pounce on any extra income they get. And the big boys will be able to help defray the increased entry fee they are now paying due to their success. Bernie gets a bum rap. I don’t see the FIA, FOTA, or CVC calling for reduced prices for promoters or spectators. Ultimately, Bernie now works for CVC and the others I just mentioned reap the benefits.


Hi James

Sadly for the teams it’s not as good as 50% of revenues yet. Under the Concorde which expired last year the teams got 47.5% of the F1 Group’s underlying profits (known as EBITDA) with Ferrari getting 2.5% to itself. That gave the teams a total of $753m in 2012 which is equivalent to 45% of F1’s $1.671bn revenues.

Although the Concorde has not yet been extended, individual commercial deals have already been agreed and are legally binding until 2020. According to the F1 flotation prospectus “Under the Team Agreements and the New Concorde Agreement when entered into, total Team Payments (excluding amortisation charge for the signing fees) are expected to be approximately 63% of Pre Team Share EBITDA.”

This increased amount will give the teams 50% of the revenues from deals like the one with Emirates. The team payment instalments fall due in arrears so they won’t benefit from Emirates for some time to come but at least it is on the horizon!


Hmmm. $200m for 5 years is $40m a year, split unequelly 10 ways means the top teams, who really don’t need it, will see about $8m a year extra at best, whilst the likes of Caterham and Marussia wil get peanuts. I think it’s fair to say most of the teams won’t really car about this, unless there’s a discount on air freight involved.


Good to hear, that’s the way it should be.


Hi James, is it all the teams? Equally? Or only the Concorde teams and filtered via sliding scale?

Anyhow, well done Bernie. I find it easy being critical of the man, as there is much to be critical of, but deals like this are up his alley. Well done Mr. E.


No-one has signed a Concorde Agreement yet, they are working on individual commercial deals with BE. But the way Concorde is structured, it’s 50% to the teams 50% to CVC/Bernie


Say what you want about Bernie – But he can spell the word MONY..MUNEY no I mean MONEY


He’s pretty handy with the zeros too!

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