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COMMENT

01/17/2014
The Sahara Force India Formula One team has signed a multi-year partnership deal with Mexican lubricant brand Roshfrans.

The Roshfrans  branding will appear on the rear wing of the Force India car and on the drivers’ suits, helmets and team clothing. The deal, whose value has not been reported, isn’t likely to huge by Formula One standards, but it is very significant. The reason:  here is a Mexican brand taking rights to an Indian owned property in a very high profile global sports event.


The rise of the so-called BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) has been well documented. In the sponsorship industry, they had been expected to make a major contribution to global spend, but to date, this hasn’t really happened.

The Sponsorship Today Brazil report estimated the country’s sports sponsorship rights fees to have hit $1 billion, but this includes domestic spend on the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

Rights in India and China are significantly lower. The Sponsorship Today Cricket report, for example, showed that the sport, which dwarfs all others in India, had attracted fees totalling $165 million per year in the country.

In China sponsorship hasn’t significantly picked up since the 2008 Olympic Games and in Russia, although the market is growing and Sochi 2014 has given the industry a major boost, the full picture is still unclear given that a lot of sponsorship is undertaken for political, rather than commercial reasons.

The so-called MINT countries (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) could be more active in sponsorship, at least in proportion to their respective populations which are, of course, significantly smaller than the BRIC nations.

Mexico is home to some major international brands, such as Telmex (telecommunications) and Grupo Modelo (beer). Turkey is home to series of major brands such as Efes (beer), Beko (electricals), Ülker (food), Turkcell and Türk Telekom (both telecommunications) all of which are very active in sponsorship domestically, and Turkish Airlines, which is spending considerable sums internationally. Although Nigeria and Indonesia currently host fewer brands with the potential to grow (and sponsor) internationally, this is likely to change.

What is apparent in the MINT countries is that they have been faster to embrace sponsorship as a marketing tool. MINT companies have been spending heavily in their domestic markets, in many respects more so than the BRIC nations, and the Roshfrans deal is another example of such companies investing in international sports rights.

For the sponsorship industry, the MINT countries should certainly be worth keeping a close eye on over the next few years.

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