It is finally official. Yamaha have today announced that they have signed a five-year deal with Spanish telecommunications company Movistar to act as title sponsor for the factory Yamaha team. The deal will see Movistar branding appear prominently on fairings, leathers, team uniform, team trucks, etc, and the team be called Movistar Yamaha MotoGP.
The deal had been rumored since the start of the year, and had been confirmed unofficially last week, when Movistar presented its TV schedules. But the formal announcement came only today, when the Spanish firm unveiled the price structure for its pay-per-view offering in Madrid. The contract had been a long time in the making, as a conflict over fairing space with sponsor Monster, who had signed a two-year deal with team at the beginning of last season. According to reports in Spanish magazine Solomoto, appearing on the US website Sport Rider, Yamaha Racing boss Lin Jarvis had flown to the US to help settle the deal with Monster. This was key, as Movistar is both offering much more money than Monster - the Sport Rider report claims it is twice as much - but the deal is also for a longer period, stretching for five years, while the Monster contract expires at the end of this year.
The reason for the deal is to help promote the Movistar pay-per-view TV package. In a deal similar to that on offer in the UK, where BT Sport has secured the rights, Movistar is using its sports and entertainment packages to help sell broadband services. Having Yamaha's MotoGP team be associated with Movistar will be a useful sales aid in the key Spanish market.
The livery to be used by the team has not yet been unveiled. That will be revealed ahead of the first race of the season at Qatar, in two weeks' time.
Below is the press release announcing the deal between Movistar and Yamaha:
Yamaha and Movistar Join Forces for 5-year MotoGP Title Sponsor Program
Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd can today make one of the most significant partnership announcements in recent years of the MotoGP World Championship. The exceptional agreement sees TELEFONICA DE ESPAÑA, S.A joining Yamaha with its renowned Movistar brand as Title Sponsor of the Yamaha Factory Racing Team for an extensive five-year contract.
The joining of these two iconic names from the premier class of motorcycle racing creates a new name for the team. Starting from the first race of the 2014 season, the team will be known as the “Movistar Yamaha MotoGP” Team and riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi will embark on their title challenge under the floodlights of Qatar on 23rd March under this name.
The Movistar brand will feature prominently on all team assets (YZR-M1, riders’ leathers, team uniform, pit-garage, trucks, hospitality) for the next five years.
The new official team logo is made public today but the full 2014 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team livery will only be unveiled on Wednesday 19th March in Losail, Qatar, just before the opening race.
Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing
This is a big day for the sport. We are delighted to be able to welcome the Movistar brand back into the world of MotoGP in such spectacular fashion. Dedicated fans of motorcycle racing will know that Movistar has a strong history in the sport, and in the past they supported many talented young riders who later evolved to be the top stars in the MotoGP class. We are therefore honoured that they chose Yamaha as their partner to re-enter motorcycle racing.
The 5 year partnership provides an incredibly stable platform for both parties to fully exploit the relationship and make plans not just in the short-term but also strategically over a longer period. Their long-term commitment is also a strong sign of confidence in the sport and provides reassurance to the other sponsors and partners involved with our team.
We also believe the activation and promotion that Movistar will bring will also help to raise awareness and interest in our championship from brands not yet involved in MotoGP.
The Movistar announcement is the last and most significant of our planned sponsor agreements for this season. We are delighted to have such a full portfolio of premium brands now onboard with us as we make final preparations for our 2014 title challenge campaign.
We’re keen now to get to the start grid under the floodlights and kick off our title challenge together!
Director of Communication and Customer Experience, Telefónica Spain
Movistar is coming back to MotoGP; this moment is going to be one of the most important landmarks for our company history in 2014. Even though the adrenaline and engine sounds and even the smell of the gasoline and the support of the fans are yet to flow through our veins it's impossible for us to be much more excited. This return couldn`t have been a better kick off. We have decided to join Yamaha Factory Racing as a travel partner to embark on the same journey together. The team has achieved nine world championship titles and holds two magnificent world champions in Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.
To speak of Yamaha is to speak of motorcycling, and not only that. It is to speak of the essence of teamwork at its best and the passion of proudly waving a flag of true racing heritage in front of a passionate crowd who support on each turn and on each straight. These values are identical to those we share at Movistar. It is a huge honour to belong to this new family that we receive with open arms. We are hungry and really looking forward to seeing the start lights go out in Qatar. Now is the time to live this dream; welcome to Movistar Yamaha MotoGP!
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Rider
I am so happy with this announcement and the arrival of such a big, key sponsor as Movistar. This is an enormous partner that is not just Spanish like me but also that shares a big history in the past of the motorsport, especially in motorcycling. Now they’re back in MotoGP and more importantly, they have made a perfect marriage with Yamaha! It’s great to see such an important company as Movistar make a return to motorcycle racing with such a large scale sponsoring activity. I know we can have a great journey battling for the championship alongside them and looking into the future we will do a great job together to achieve loads of success. Welcome Movistar again to this amazing sport that we love, and of course welcome to the Yamaha family!
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, Rider
It’s really a great pleasure to know that Movistar will be joining Yamaha Factory Racing in MotoGP. I am also very happy that Yamaha have a new title sponsor! It will be a very important season for me and for Yamaha. We have always been very motivated but this news has brought new enthusiasm and this is a very positive thing. At this time the team is very busy in the pre-season tests, we are working very hard because we want to make a fantastic season. This goal I believe is important for our new sponsor. We will definitely try our best to be protagonists at every race. I give my best wishes to Movistar for this new adventure!
Movistar is the commercial brand which Telefonica operates in Spain and 13 other Latin American countries.
Telefónica is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world in terms of market capitalisation and number of customers. From this outstanding position in the industry, and with its mobile, fixed and broadband businesses as the key drivers of its growth, Telefónica has focused its strategy on becoming a leading company in the digital world.
The company has a significant presence in 24 countries and a customer base that amounts more than 323 million accesses around the world. Telefónica has a strong presence in Spain, Europe and Latin America, where the company focuses an important part of its growth strategy.
Telefónica is a 100% listed company, with more than 1.5 million direct shareholders. Its share capital currently comprises 4.551.024.586 ordinary shares traded on the Spanish Stock Market (Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia) and on those in London, New York, Lima, and Buenos Aires.