The news that the Coca-Cola Corporation is coming into F1 with its Burn brand is great news for the sport as it is a major multinational that is recognising the marketing power of F1. In recent years there has been quite a lot of negative activity around F1 as sponsors have pulled out because of the recession. Now, it seems, they are starting to come back.
There have been rumours for some weeks about other big new deals and the latest whisper in Brazil is that MasterCard Inc. has agreed a major trackside signage deal with the Formula One group.
There are currently 1.8 billion MasterCards in the world, compared to 2 billion Visa cards. The two are well ahead of the rest of the opposition but are competing to win new customers in the emerging markets. The credit card company, originally started by a group of banks in California, which grew to be a cooperative involving more than 25,000 financial institutions, has been expanding globally around the world is competition with Visa and American Express. The company was launched on the New York Stock Exchange in 2006.
MasterCard has a longterm commitment to football and recently signed a new three-year sponsorship deal for the 2012–15 cycle with the UEFA Champions League, continuing its relationship with UEFA. It will be an Official Sponsor of the UEFA European Championships and will also support the Copa America and the South American Qualifiers championships. It is the official payment cars of the PGA Tour in golf and sponsors a number of tournaments. It is an official sponsor of Major League Baseball and has smaller deals with New Zealand Rugby Union and music events such as the Brit Awards and various fashion weeks.
MasterCard joined forces with Lola back in 1997, but the Lola T97/30 was a disastrous car and Vincenzo Sospiri and Ricardo Rosset were unable to do much when the team made its one and only appearance at the Australian GP in 1997. The cars were slow and the team quickly fell apart.
It is not clear when the FOM deal will be announced, but there is talk of various other deals involving financial institutions which seem to be returning to the sport after the recession, having studied the impact of F1 around the globe and concluded that it makes more sense than other sponsorships.