New Balance gets on F1 grid with esports series rights

Footwear and apparel brand New Balance has signed as the Presenting Partner of the F1 Esports Series – one of the key innovations introduced by Formula One owners Liberty Media to attract a younger audience to the sport.

The Championship will consist of three live, broadcasted and streamed events, each covering multiple races, held in London in October and November.

F1 Esports drivers will wear New Balance socks and shoes while racing for their Official F1 teams. Of the 10 World Championship teams, only Ferrari will not participate. New Balance will also get digital activation rights across the events.

The race simulator series, based on the Formula One video game, launched last year with a finale at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

New Balance joins a group of sponsors and partners of F1 Esports Series, which includes a combined Formula One Global Partner deal with logistics brand DHL and separate deals with endemic brands Fanatec, Codemasters and Gfinity.

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The partnership is understood to be a three-season deal, from 2019-20 to 2021-22, and builds on AXA’s existing Global Partner agreement with Liverpool.

The deal is the largest ever sponsorship investment in UK women’s sport and comes less than a year after the league went fully professional in September 2018.

Under the five-year global deal, Oppo will become the first Official Smartphone Partner of The Championships, Wimbledon, as the event is officially known.

US sportswear brand Nike is paying about $7.5m (€6.7m) per year to sponsor China’s League of Legends Pro League (LPL), according to industry sources.