Movistar is to sponsor Yamaha’s MotoGP effort. At the presentation of Movistar’s broadcast plans for the Grand Prix series in Spain last week, Luis Belo, Content Director for the Spanish telecommunications giant’s digital TV channel Movistar TV, let slip that the company would also be backing the Yamaha Factory team in MotoGP, Spanish magazine Solomoto is reporting.

The announcement confirms rumors of a deal between Movistar and Yamaha, which have been doing the rounds since December. Yamaha have yet to officially confirm the deal, but that is only a matter of time.

The deal mirrors the situation in Italy, where new pay-per-view broadcaster Sky is backing the Moto3 team run in conjunction with Valentino Rossi’s VR46 merchandising brand, fielding Romano Fenati and Francesco ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia.

To help promote the pay-per-view channels which MotoGP is being broadcast on in Spain and Italy, Movistar and Sky are backing major teams in the championship.

This is important for the two channels, as some of the races are also being broadcast on free-to-air channels in both Spain and Italy, in some cases on a tape delay basis. Having visible exposure on the bikes helps reinforce the message to audiences.

The pay-per-view TV contracts in MotoGP’s biggest markets have seen losers as well as winners. In Italy, the move from Mediaset to Sky has seen Italian teams struggle to raise sponsorship, especially in Moto2 and Moto3.

Similarly, in Spain, a number of major teams have had phone calls from their backers after the pay-per-view deal with Movistar was announced. Long-running sponsorship deals were penned on the basis of all three MotoGP classes being broadcast free-to-air.

Once it became apparent that Telecinco was unwilling to pay the 20+ million euros per year for the broadcast rights, and Movistar stepped in to cover the shortfall, using MotoGP as a tool to expand their share of the TV, internet and telephony market, sponsors in Moto2 and Moto3 especially have reduced their funding of the teams.

The return of Movistar means the return of a long-standing sponsor in the Grand Prix paddock. Movistar, and its parent company Telefonica, have long been involved in Grand Prix racing at all levels, including backing a support series and teams in the Spanish championship that went on to produce some of the top riders currently in the sport, as well as retired greats, including Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner, Daijiro Kato, Sete Gibernau, Marco Melandri, Julian Simon, Kenny Roberts Jr, Chaz Davies, Leon Camier, and many more.

Telefonica withdrew from the paddock in 2006, after losing Dani Pedrosa to Repsol. Telefonica had backed Pedrosa throughout his entire career, and had wanted to continue in MotoGP, but existing contracts with Repsol meant Honda had to choose between the two, electing instead to maintain the long-standing relationship with oil giant Repsol instead.

Source: Solomoto & GPone

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

  • froryde

    Freakin’ finally!!! Good to be seeing some new colours on them Yams. The white and blue is nice, but time for a change – and hopefully for the better!! Never been a huge fan of the previous Movistar Hondas, but let’s see this time. Can’t wait!

    MotoGP 2014 is shaping to be a good season!

  • L2C

    Good news for Yamaha indeed.

  • Brandon

    To froryde: Sorry to let you down, but Yamaha already showed of their colors for this year and Movistar uses the same colors as the existing color scheme, so nothing is going to be changing that much.

  • Gutterslob

    Rossi in Gibernau colours!!

  • damn

    very nice Yamaha!! can’t wait to see how it looks

  • smiler

    They will certainly look nice. Hopefully De Puniet will be able to erase the Movistar Gibenau connection in people’s minds.

  • Nick

    To Brandon: Of course it will change!

    The whole livery will change.

    They wouldnt sponsor the team otherwise

  • Reed Parker

    Glad I didn’t choose my track bike color scheme yet. Typo on Kato’s last name fyi.

  • Norm G.

    pump your brakes fellas.

    though it could be, I read nothing about main sponsorship. this could be full livery…? or a sticker on the swingarm/patch on the shoulder…?

  • Just Johnny

    Movistar colours will stand out the most on the grid for 2014. 2000 & 2001 Telefonica Movistar Suzuki was best looking motogp bike in history . This is awesome for the sport .