Adidas To Sponsor Yamaha MotoGP And Sky VR46 Moto3 Teams In 2014?
Yamaha's MotoGP team looks set to gain another sponsor for 2014. According to the PU24.it website - the same website which broke the news of Rossi's decision to drop Jeremy Burgess - sportswear manufacturer Adidas is set to sponsor the factory Yamaha team of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo next season.
The deal is said to be part of a larger contract, which will involve the Team Sky VR46 Moto3 squad as well. The deal appears mainly aimed at the Italian market: according to the PU24 website, one of the benefits for Adidas will be better visibility for its ads on the Sky Italia channel, which will be broadcasting MotoGP in Italy next year, and which is also a co-sponsor of Valentino Rossi's Team Sky VR46 Moto3 squad. The deal is rumored to be a two-year contract, though how much money is involved is currently unknown.
There is good reason to place some credence in this report. The record of the PU24.it website in matters related to Valentino Rossi is very good indeed. The website has links to Rossi's inner circle, which has helped it break news of Burgess' release, and of Rossi's switch to Ducati. But the deal makes sense from the perspective of Adidas as well. The German sportswear company has a long and bitter rivalry with Puma, the two companies the result of a bitter falling out between the two Dassler brothers who had originally formed the Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik in Herzogenaurach in the province of Bavaria in Germany. Both Puma and Adidas have spent a lot of money and energy competing against each other, and with Puma being involved with Ducati, providing teamwear for the Italian factory, it is hardly a surprise that Adidas should try to trump their rivals. Puma benefited from their association with Valentino Rossi when he was at Ducati, and by aligning themselves directly with Rossi and his Moto3 team, Adidas could once again go one up on Puma.
As yet, the news is just a rumor, albeit from very well-informed sources. The deal is said to have been concluded shortly before the presentation of the Team Sky VR46 Moto3 team at Valentino Rossi's Tavullia ranch, but an announcement will probably only come in the first days of 2014, after current contracts expire on 31st December. Alpinestars currently supply the team clothing for Yamaha, as well as providing catering services for the team.
For an entertaining and interesting potted history of the dispute between Puma and Adidas, see this article from 2009 on the website of British newspaper The Guardian. There is also some background on the Wikipedia page of Adidas.