Liberty Media, the new owner of Formula One, has taken a major step toward revamping its approach toward commercial partnerships, announcing the appointment of Creative Artists Agency (CAA) to represent its global sponsorship rights.
Sean Bratches, Formula One's commercial chief, first met with CAA's head of global sponsorship sales, Paul Danforth, back in January, and the two have now confirmed their tie-up.
Sponsorship has been identified as a chronically under-exploited area by Liberty, with Formula One presently having only five top-level corporate partners: Rolex, Heineken, Emirates, Pirelli and DHL.
As the official agency of record, CAA Sports' task will be to significantly expand that roster, filling in crucial categories such as telecommunications and hospitality. The appointment comes just weeks before Murray Barnett, formerly of World Rugby, begins his new role as Formula One's global head of sponsorship and commercial partnerships. Barnett will be expected to work closely with CAA on the identification and acquisition of new sponsors.
CAA Sports' existing partners include National Football League (NFL) outfit the San Francisco 49ers, the National Basketball Association's (NBA) Golden State Warriors and, most relevantly, Formula One team Red Bull Racing.
Of the collaboration, Danforth said: “Formula One wasn’t exactly out there talking to corporations all over the world on how they could partner with the sport. That’s what we are really excited about.
“When you look at the world of technology, each of these teams are probably spending more money on technology than any sport in the world, yet there’s not even a technology partner of the sport. We couldn’t be more excited about digging into that space and talking to everyone that we’ve been talking to in Silicon Valley with our 49ers project and our Warriors project. That is one of the places that we’re going to start.”