Qatar Airways has been revealed as the global airline sponsor of Formula 1 for the next five years after the Doha-based carrier managed to outbid regional rival Emirates for the sponsorship rights.
The deal was officially announced during a motorsports event organised by Qatar Airways at Lusail Boulevard in Doha on Wednesday evening.
Qatar Airways is believed to have clinched the sponsorship rights off of Emirates after the sport’s owners, Liberty Media Corporation, demanded Emirates double the fee it paid in 2018 to secure the rights to the sport.
Neither Qatar Airways nor Liberty Media has confirmed the cost of the deal, although it’s widely believed that Qatar Airways spent in the region of $50 million to secure the five-year agreement.
As well as becoming the official global airline partner of Formula 1, Qatar Airways has also secured the rights to become the headline sponsor of three Grand Prix races in 2023.
The first will be the Italian Emilia Romagna Grand Prix between 19th and 21st May, and the second will be the Hungarian Grand Prix between 21st and 23rd July. The third and final race will, of course, be the Qatar Grand Prix which is set to take place between 6th and 8th October.
The deal will see Qatar Airways’ burgandy branding replace Emirates’ distinctive red trackside banners that have been a feature of F1 races for the past 10 years. Qatar Airways will also start offering travel packages to select Grands Prixs as part of the deal.
“As the pinnacle of motorsport, it makes sense for Formula 1 to partner with a global leader in aviation like Qatar Airways,” commented Stefano Domenicali, President & CEO of Formula 1.
“We are two brands committed to delivering the best experience to our fans and customers, and our combined reach globally makes this a perfect match,” Domenicali continued.
Emirates has built up a massive portfolio of sports sponsorship deals which the carrier sees as an integral part of its international growth strategy. The airline learned that it could raise awareness of its brand through premium sponsorship deal aimed at various markets and segments around the world.
The airline says it remains committed to this strategy but the pandemic may have forced Emirates to rethink how much it is willing to spend to secure certain deals.
Qatar Airways has been slowly building up its sports sponsorship portfolio, the most prominent of which is its international relationship with FIFA.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.