You may remember that Petronas inked a three year deal with Fiat Yamaha, sponsoring the Rossi/Lorenzo duo in MotoGP. While Petronas has worked with Yamaha for eight years in a variety of fields, this marks their first collaboration with them in MotoGP, and it is costing them a pretty penny: $24 million for three years, or $8 million a year. For this sum, Petronas branding will appear on the Fiat Yamaha team’s bikes, equipment, and uniforms. Looking closer at the deal we see how large of a deal this is when compared to other similar sponsorships in MotoGP, while also at the same time, how the actual sum paid might be much less than $24 million.
Lin Jarvis, managing director of Yamaha Motor Racing commented on the deal saying;
“This is a very exciting development for Yamaha and for the sport of MotoGP. Yamaha and Petronas already have a successful business relationship away from racing, and this new, long-term, business partnership will see the ties between the two multi-national companies strengthened further. It is especially good to see a global company of Petronas’ stature making the decision to enter into our sport at this difficult time and we look forward to working hand in hand with them to develop a long and mutually beneficial relationship.”
$24 million is more than enough money to fund a satellite team, and dwarfs the amount paid to Tech3 ($2.5 million) and Rizla ($7 million). Of course, neither of these teams have Valentino Rossi. Rossi brings big bucks not only because of this talent on the track, but also because of his on-camera charisma and large fan base. This is an important factor to consider for not only sponsors, but teams as well. When you consider how much it costs to race in MotoGP, a high-priced rider like Valentino Rossi, might be a sound investment when you calculate all the added draws and intangibles. These factors can bring in enough money to offset the ten’s of millions of dollars it costs to compete and fund a team.
According to MotoGP Matters, these large number deals aren’t all they are cracked up to be. Multiple sources inside the paddock have confided that the Rizla deal, for example, was closer to $500,000, instead of $7 million, and similar numbers were bandied about for the Monster deal with both Tech 3 and Kawasaki. Admittedly, the people passing on these numbers had them at second hand too, and were unbiased observers. You can take that information as you will, but it does lead to some interesting questions.