The others who are involved are financial director Nigel Kerr, legal counsel Caroline McGrory and HR director John Marsden.
The team has the budget needed for 2009 but needs sponsorship for 2010 and beyond. This year’s money is believed to come from Honda, which agreed to fund the team because the money would have been spent in any case paying for redundancies if the team had closed down. This route avoids any further loss of face for Honda. Extra cash will be coming from the Formula One group from the TV and prize funds.
Brawn says that the current Brawn GP livery was chosen because it is neutral and is not indicative of any future backer and while the team may not need sponsorship this year it is fairly clear that more money will have to come in the longer term Interestingly, the team says that it is in no rush to conclude immediate deals and wants to create a proper structure and put in place long-term plans with the right funding to do the job properly.
This is interesting because the lack of urgency hints at deals already in place and perhaps at deals that Honda was unwilling to do because it did not want to get involved with certain companies. The big Japanese corporations are careful to avoid any relationship with controversial companies and it is interesting therefore that the name of Bwin has popped up in recent days.
The Austrian online gambling firm has run into trouble because of its advertising over the years. Banning online gambling is pretty much impossible but governments think they can ban the advertising either to protect their own national lotteries or because they feel gambling is bad for the population (mainly the former, funnily enough). Thus the actions are not dissimilar to attempts to control tobacco and alcohol advertising. The online gaming companies have been getting around these by sponsoring sporting events, sportsmen and women and TV coverage.
Bwin bought the international broadcasting rights of Bundesliga soccer in 2006 on a three-year deal with the aim of selling the rights on to international broadcasters and by doing so cover the costs of the deal and get cheap publicity. That deal finishes in 2009 and it is possible that the company – which has plenty of money – is now looking for a bigger and better scheme.
One might speculate that the arrangement that Ferrari enjoys with Philip Morris International is a good guide for the online gaming community. The team is known as “Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro” but does not have any logos on the cars. It owns the entire car and sells sponsorship on to other companies such as Shell, Alice and Acer. This means that while advertising tobacco is banned in some countries, the name of the team comes up on international TV screens whenever the cars are in the picture.
There is a similar deal for AT&T with Williams, which bought the right to name the team but very little space on the cars. In this case it was simply a cost-effective ploy by AT&T and a clever bit of salesmanship from Williams. In the case of Ferrari and Marlboro there was rather more to it.
One wonders therefore whether Bwin and Brawn may end up being linked, or perhaps in time we will see the name “Bwin GP” replacing “Brawn GP’.
They look pretty similar at 10 paces…
This is just a theory, but there seems considerable logic in the idea.