HSBC to review £15m Formula One tie-up

Financial services giant HSBC is to review its £15m-a-year involvement with Formula One racing after the sport’s management slashed its official viewing figures by almost half.

A spokesman for HSBC says Formula One Management’s (FOM) figures are part of the company’s original sponsorship negotiations and the “significant” changes forced an internal review by HSBC’s media agencies.

He says the company became involved with sponsoring F1 because of the large reach of the sport and any change in audience numbers could affect the effectiveness of the deal.

“From a sponsor’s point of view, viewing figures are crucial. We have asked our media agencies to evaluate the FOM figures. The reason we pay what we do is because of its reach. If this changes, then we have to look at our deal.”

FOM shaved as many as 160 million viewers from its official TV audience figures after changing its measurement methods (MW last week).

HSBC has sponsored Jaguar Racing in a £15m-a-year deal since 1997, although the contract is up for renewal this year. The HSBC spokesman says the company is in talks with the racing team.

Meanwhile, the spokesman confirms that HSBC is in talks with the Shanghai Grand Prix to sign as a headline sponsor for the inaugural race this year. The bank is bidding against a rival offer from tobacco giant Philip Morris.Leader, page 5;

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