Chelsea sure Sauber deal will pay off for both teams

Chelsea has no doubts that its tie-up with Sauber will create new followers for both teams - even though attempts to achieve such fan crossover in the past have failed

Chelsea sure Sauber deal will pay off for both teams

With the Superleague Formula having not attracted as many football fans to motor racing as it had originally hoped for, there have been questions about the true benefits of Chelsea getting involved with Sauber.

But the football club's chief executive Ron Gourlay believes that fans are now more ready for such synergies than they were even a few years ago.

"The world has changed," he explained during a visit to the Spanish Grand Prix. "Chelsea concentrates hugely on its international fan base and, through its social media and how we communicate with them, the base has expanded hugely.

"It is very important to communicate with people around the world and that is our base for social responsibility. We really believe that Sauber will help us enhance that around the world and not just in the UK. This is a global partnership and we are two partners who can move this forward."

Gourlay says that the partnership with Sauber is not just about getting a Chelsea sticker on the car and selling more shirts.

"It's not about just finance. It is about engagement, because at the end of the day the whole commercial world has changed. It is about engagement of that fan base.

"There is no point having 250-300 million supporters around the world if we can't engage with that. So from my point of view we are just happy to have involvement with Peter Sauber, who carries so much weight within the sport. We have never and would never consider going into this with anyone but Sauber."

Gourlay believes that Chelsea's partnership with Sauber will start a trend - and that other football clubs will likely make moves to find ways to get involved in F1 too.

"I think they will follow, but the key is the lead here and it is ground breaking for us," he said. "There will be a huge amount of global interest around how this will evolve and we are engaged with that

"This is about bringing two of the biggest sports in the world from an awareness point of view together, and using both of our experience to drive both our businesses forward. I think you will see over the next few months that there has been a lot of thought that has gone into this and it is not just financial, it is about giving back as well."

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Series Formula 1
Teams Sauber
Author Jonathan Noble
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