YouTube and Best Buy to sponsor USF1?

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

Will we see these logos on the side of USF1's car next year?
Will we see these logos on the side of USF1's car next year?

YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley is one of the investors behind America’s new F1 team for 2010, USF1.

Hurley co-founded YouTube with Steve Chen and Jawed Karim in 2005 and the trio made $1.65bn when they sold the site to Google in November 2006.

Another American company, Best Buy, is looking to get involved in the project. According to TechCrunch their chief marketing officer Barry Judge recently met Hurley and representatives from US F1.

Best Buy is a major American electrical goods retailer, but its huge electronics warehouses are little seen outside America. It is planning an expansion of its business into the UK and Europe, and bought a half-share in Carphone Warehouse in May for ??1.1bn.

Sponsoring a Formula 1 team would be an ideal way for Best Buy to promote their brand to European audiences.

The potential YouTube tie-up is made all the more interesting because of FOM’s determination to keep F1 content off the world’s most popular video sharing site. This futile, brand-damaging endeavour sees occasional clutches of Formula 1 videos uploaded by fans (including those filmed by fans at Grands Prix) disappear from the site in the name of copyright protection.

F1 teams including Ferrari, McLaren and BMW are already using YouTube.

As for the sponsorship plans of the other two new teams arriving in F1 next year, Manor is tipped to grab the Virgin deal from Brawn GP. Little is known about Campos Meta 1’s plans, but a likely target could be Spanish oil company Repsol. It has a long history of F1 and motor racing sponsorship and has been backing Jaime Alguersuari in World Series by Renault.

72 comments on “YouTube and Best Buy to sponsor USF1?”

  1. Interesting news and I’m glad you picked up on the FOM video content sharing issue. Fingers crossed I hope this will lead to a change of policy from FOM with YouTube now in F1…

  2. it’ll be good to have more sponsors in, especially US sponsors, I’ve always thought the USA should have an east and west race since it’s such a huge market commercially. the amount of money it could inject to the sport could rival all the money in the sport already.

  3. Ooooh I wonder if there could be a situation where Bernie takes USF1 sponsor YouTube to court over having unofficial content on their site!!??

    I hope this link up with YouTube makes FOM realise that YouTube is a great medium for promoting their sport globally and allowing official content to be on the site would be a good thing for F1 fans. However I am sure the other TV broadcasters around the world would complain if there was too much content which could potentially damage their own ratings.

  4. With respect Keith, if Chad Hurley has, as you say, sold his You Tube interest to Google, he has no longer has any say in You Tube sponsoring anything.
    Far more likely that he is interested in his next business venture, whatever it is, sponsoring US-F1.

  5. Good news that gives a lot more credibility to Team US F1 if these deals would indeed come to fruition.

    On the F1 and YouTube link: I sincerely hope that B.C. Ecclestone and CVC Capital Partners begin to understand the value of new media for them. I could understand when they say live TV will keep providing the biggest revenue stream, but short clips of old and new on-track action enhance the fan’s experience. And it’s ultimately the fans that pay for F1.

  6. Good news that gives a lot more credibility to Team US F1 if these deals would indeed come to fruition.

    On the F1 and YouTube link: I sincerely hope that B.C. Ecclestone and CVC Capital Partners begin to understand the value of new media for them. I could understand when they say live TV will keep providing the biggest revenue stream, but short clips of old and new on-track action enhance the fan’s experience. And it’s ultimately the fans that pay for F1.

    1. you’re missing the point.

      small companies sure – they would love nothing more than free advertising.

      but big companies like F1 don’t need – and don’t do free advertising.

      if you want to ‘advertise’ the F1 brand you have to pay.

      using the F1 logo on your website would be great ‘free advertising’ but it’s a licensed piece of content. you need to pay.

      FOM sell the rights for online broadcasting to people like the BBC and restrict it to their own country, so they can sell more streams in other countries.

      who needs free advertising when there’s content distributors who will pay to broadcast it?

      1. In the USA, Formula One hardly qualifies as a “big company”. It’s got a small niche audience and very little potential for growth, given that most races are televised only on SPEED, which few TV subscribers in the US get. I was amazed that ESPN mentioned Massa’s injury, and even then it was only in the news ticker. So if FOM would ever like to recapture the US market, they need to allow US fans to do word-of-mouth advertising, and YouTube clips are a fantastic way to do that.

        1. agreed – the US market is untapped by that standard – but offering up the distribution free when there’s already providers paying, and if they were to setup a couple of races in the US and get serious about it i have no doubt bernie would fly in and talk direct with ESPN etc and strike a media deal.

          1. Don’t get your hopes up,for what it cost to put on a F1 race,you could run a 1st. class full season of Indy racing. Their will never be another F1 race in Canada or USA so long as Hitler Bernie is demanding 20 million per.

      2. Personally, you’re missing the point. There’s a demographic shift with younger people to get more and more media from computers and wireless devices. Some of that media revenue will be unaccounted for (like fan uploads). Other forms of collectible revenue aren’t even being tapped (like a premium track map/status updates and/or multiple team radio feeds & multiple camera angles). Yes, F1 is finally starting to embrace this, $10 per race iPhone apps, for example, but F1 isn’t doing all it can.

        Also, look at who puts things on youtube and hulu: the BBC, Discovery Networks, IndyCar, National Geographic, the NY Times, the NHL, ESPN, etc etc etc. Why? B/c it allows for on show content to be shown to a wider audience, widening exposure. The idea isn’t to replace content, just enhance it. Fans can remember incredible moments, and promoters can use the videos to hype future events.

        I’m sure Santander, RBS, Samsung and any of the other companies that place these things called “stickers” on cars, walls, tire barriers etc don’t mind a bit more “viral” exposure, and I’m sure Bernie wouldn’t mind charging them a bit more!

        1. oh i totally agree – the point i was trying bring across was how the FOM / berine see it.

          they are in the commercial world trying to pay off their loans and make as much as they can and as fast as they can, if the option is to sell the rights or let it get out there for free – they’ll pick sell every time.

          i dont see the point of them blocking every 2 minute clip on youtube but they have fulltime staff doing it.

          how a 2 minute clip hurts commercial rights of broadcasters eludes me but they see it as a threat and actively peruse it. their contracts with broadcasters must offer them localised exclusive rights, and if FOM is not diligent in protecting those rights of their contract holders then they might be in breach? who knows, it sucks and i’m sure i’ll open more people to the sport if there were more media out there but that’s the current state of things.

          F1 / FOM is like IBM. stuck in the past and slow to adjust to change, they need to shed a heap of rules and probably management and switch to a more agile way to handle media. wishful thinking.

  7. USF1? Why name it that? National pride? Force India hasn’t done squat yet. Fisichella? Sutil? Are they Indian? Any other name would work better in order to take away the “national” pressure. USF1 drivers considered, Karthikeyan, Sato, and Briscoe. Go US! Seriously, Scott Speed should get a shot. Anyone else?.. Anyone?.. Hello?…

    1. I honestly hate the name force india.

      there’s nothing indian about it besides the egotistical owner.

      is that name set in stone yet? USF1? i wouldn’t have thought bernie would let them use the brand F1 in their name. maybe they have paid a royalty for it.

    2. yeah – bit of wiki work and yeah their name is not USF1.

      The team name was previously reported to have changed to US Grand Prix Engineering, or USGPE, due to the objection of Bernie Ecclestone, who claims to own the rights to the term “F1″.


        1. The team name is ‘Team US F1′ according to the FIA’s entry lists of late. However, when the company wasn’t in Formula One, it had to change it’s formal (compan?) name into US Grand Prix Engineering.

      1. mf has the most recent version of the name, from what I hear. Putting “team” in with the F1 allows them to use the term without copyright violations. As for the USGPE website, that was just one of many domain names the company registered when they were setting things up.

    1. The story a few months ago was that Virgin had made an offer of title sponsorship for Brawn but after the success they had at the start of the season Brawn had some better offers so Branson said he would step aside as he couldn’t match these offers. Virgin probably want to remain in F1 and it would be cheaper to sponsor a new team.

      Having said that is anyone else surprised that Brawn still have so few sponsors at the moment. I realise that signing a multi year sponsorship deal with a big corporation can take a while, but there hasn’t been any news for a while, unless I have missed it.

      1. Virgin went to Manor. That’s part of the uproar over Alan Donnelly: apparently his wife runs the agency that put Richard Branson in touch with John Booth and worked the deal that would see Manor become Virgin-Manor.

        Or, as I like to now call them, The Playboy Mansion.

      2. Ross Brawn was quoted a few races back as saying that they had 2 or 3 serious deals lined up but that the sponsors were unwilling to put pen to paper until the issue over the future of the sport was settled – which you can understand.

        My hope is that at Valencia we’ll see a few announcements from BrawnGP of new sponsors and perhaps a slightly less white car as a result!!

        1. I must have missed that announcement.

          Brawn don’t really need to worry about sponsors right now. Honda still have a majority shareholding, and I gather they’re gradually selling it back to Brawn himself. That lets the team concentrate on racing, while the Honda paymasters can worry about the diligence. As the season winds down, then they can concentrate on sponsors, which puts them in a very unique position: because of their successes, sponsors will be falling all over themselves to get their name on the side of the car.

          1. I was sure the whole Honda Shareholding rumour had been debunked a while back.

            The team has a budget for this year, helped by them being paid the TV and prize money from last year recently, but they need to have a budget in place for next year before the season starts so now is when they need to start talking to sponsors, not at the end of the season…

  8. Do these sponsors give us any ideas about the liveries these new teams will have next year? Perhaps Keith could do an article about it because we’ll have 3 (4?) new teams next year, and Renault are losing ING, so we may get a more colourful grid next year.

    1. I’m guessing that Virgin-Manor (aka The Playboy Mansion) will be predominantly red with white, in keeping with the Virgin colours. In order to differentiate themselves from Ferrari, they’re likely to introduce another colour if the car is almost entirely red; it really depends upon which arm of the Virgin empire sponsors them.

      As for USF1, it’s very likely the stars-and-stripes motif will be worked in, but I doubt it will dominate. Liveries are very much chosen based on the colours of sponsors, so unless USF1 can convince someone like Best Buy to have their logos appear in red, white and blue, the car is likely to be the colours of the major sponsor. That said, for all we know, Best Buy’s branding will only be limited to a logo on the rear wing.

      Campos is the hardest one to pick, probably because they’re going to be Spanish companies in keeping with the Spanish team. As he was a GP2 team principal, Adrian Campos probably has connections to a few major sponsors already, and as an advertising agency, MetaImage will know dozens more. Campos has also said he wants a driver who will unlock new markets, which I’m interpreting as Vitaly Petrov; I wouldn’t be too surprised if Campos unveil a car with serious Lukoil or Gazoprom branding.

        1. Well, Russia is a bit funny. A lot of the wealth is controlled by the oil oligarchs. It’s not as bad as in Saudi Arabia where a handful of sheiks control the entire oil supply, but it’s definitely noticeable. It is kind of good news; after all, a petrochemical company is most likely to sponsor a sports team that relies heavily on petrochemicals.

          With the demise of Yukos, there’s only really two options that I can think of: Lukoil and Gazprom. Lukoil has a close association with Red Bull; they run a Young Driver Development Program of their own throughout the lower formula like Formula Lada, the pinnacle of which is their sponsorship of Mikhail Aleshin in Formula Two, which they do with Red Bull. If Petrov gets the Campos drive – or any drive, for that matter – they may use him as a stepping stone to infiltrate all levels of international motorsport and create a conduit from Russia to the international stage, but one of my closest friends is Russian and if I’ve learned anything from her it’s that loyalty is very highly valued.

          Gazprom is the other alternative. They’re primarily a natural gas company, but they do have an oil arm named Gazprom Neft, which is treated as a separate copany and is the fifth-largest in Russia. That said, parent company Gazprom is currently embroiled in a dispute over the supply of natural gas reserves to the Ukraine, so they may not really be in any position to start sponsoring major sporting teams (though they do lend their name to professional football and ice hockey teams). Gazprom Neft might be separate enough that they are unaffected by the dispute and may decide to sponsor Petrov simply to one-up Lukoil.

          There’s a handful of other companies that might do it, mostly telecommunication outfits. But most of the money lies in oil and natural gas. I don’t really know who Petrov’s personal sponsor is, and obviously that’s going to have an effect on who sponsors a team he joins (if he indeed joins one).

  9. I wonder how the YouTube thing works: they’re owned by Google, and Larry page was sighted in the Monaco paddock talking with Brawn despite being a guest of McLaren. Apparently he wants to put the Google name on the side of a race-winning car (or at least a car that is being run by a successful team).

  10. i dont see youtube becoming a sponsor. do they really need any more exposure in the world? who hasnt heard of youtube? apparently youtube (google) loses more money than they make every year due to enormous amount of bandwidth used on youtube. someone has to pay for all those videos we upload!

    1. does anyone really not know redbull? why do they have 2 teams?!

      youtube could sponsor, i personally doubt it but there’s no reason they shouldn’t.

      youtube is a loss leader for google, besides being able to dominate the video industry online it allows them to buy cheaper bandwith rates for other business divisions. it also allows them to further justify expansion of their own backbone network and data centers – making them self a bandwidth provider.

  11. Does anyone know why companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi don’t sponsor anyone in F1?
    Not that I really care, I’m just suprised. I think it would be cool to see a Red, Black and White Coca-Cola car.
    Chances are that if Best Buy becomes a sponsor, the car will be yellow and blue with an American flag on either side and probably painted all over the drivers helmet.

    1. Years ago I used to work with Cocal Cola – just a the time when Euro Disney was being built. There were all sorts of suggestions that Coca Cola would get close to Disney in one way or another, but the decision from Disney was that they did not need to ally themselves and other brand to prove themselves successful . . .
      I think the nearest that PepsiCo ever got to F1 was the 7-Up sponsorship of Jordan (1991, I think) – 7-UP was a Pepsi brand at the time, may still be.

  12. USF1 will have tons of sponsors and Youtube being one of them is good it will help us fans get through to FOM that we wan’t content we film not being taken down. Campos could have options aswell Repsol as you mentioned and Telefonica those 2 could give the team the much needed money to survive in F1 and Manor well Virgin are likely to sponsor them but apart from that whoelse?

    1. Oh man, I hope not!

      For those of you who don’t have a Best Buy in your country “Geek Squad” is the mobile technicians that drive around in ugly Volkswagens painted in the design bruins mentioned above.

  13. It is good to know that the new teams are getting some backing. I must say that the last few years of F1 have been good in the racing. Now if we could just get away from the political part. I doubt it.

  14. Great news on the sponsorship for all three teams- I expect we’ll see some more announcements similar to these in the next few weeks.

    The pairing of Best Buy and Team USF1 could be a Grand Slam for all parties involved. In the case of Best Buy, F1 sponsorship would give them excellent brand recognition in Europe and elsewhere. On the American side, Best Buy is the industry leader in retail electronics sales…their stores are visited by hundreds of millions of Americans each year for al sorts of electronics items. If USF1 gets some exposure in the stores and in marketing campaigns, there will be few better ways to spread awarenss of the team here in America.

    1. yeah hopefully it’ll garnish extra exposure in the US and we’ll see a 2nd US based team come in. 2 US teams making enough noise about how not having a US race is hurting their sponsorship opportunities should help bernie / the new FIA to look back into USA for events.

      hasn’t RBS and ING pulled out? USA has plenty of big banks with fresh bailout money to spend.

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