One of the biggest reasons the world's leading brands are investing nearly $6 billion in motorsport sponsorships are for the opportunities to build rich, technical partnerships with race teams, venues and series. Not many professional sports offer such an exciting proving ground for products and innovations that benefit consumers every day.
Behind the scenes of the speed, glamor and excitement in motorsports is where the value proposition ramps up for organizations looking to operate and test their products at the highest level. Common technical partnerships form between a race team and a sponsor, or a series and a sponsor. Sponsors and the teams or series will all have different objectives for their partnership, such as an energy company partnering with a race team to study improvements in efficiency and performance of products on the race track. That energy company then uses the lessons learned on the track when developing products we buy at the gas station, or off the shelf.
We love to see this type of mutually beneficial relationship, creating value at every turn. We also consider this type of B2B relationship a foundational element of sponsorship activation, and it is a big reason why we recommend our 2:1 activation-to-property rights budget allocation rule to fully gain the advantages of motorsports sponsorship.
Three favorite technical partnerships in motorsports today
Shell with Ferrari
Shell has had a deep partnership with Ferrari to develop ultimate energy performance together. In Formula 1, they were among the first to bring a trackside engineering lab specific to fuel and lubricant monitoring and testing to each and every Grand Prix around the world. It proved so effective that numerous teams followed suit in order to stay competitive with their development.
Microsoft with NASCAR
Microsoft has partnered with NASCAR to provide a streamlined officiating system, as well as team collaboration enhancements. This is a partnership that does not put the focus on branding or logos, and instead focuses on technology development and added value to the series.
Williams F1 Advanced Engineering Department
The Williams F1 team has developed an entire department around its technical partnerships ranging from super cars to high-performance batteries for Formula-E racing and electric cars. In 2018, the team was selected as a MacRobert Award finalist for their aerodynamic shelf-edge technology that dramatically increases efficiency for supermarket and industrial refrigerators.
Technical partnerships are just one element to maximizing the value of sponsorship.