Ben, the AC and JP Morgan title sponsorship

The name of a financier born in 1837 will take precedence over the name of the most successful Olympic sailor of all time under a deal that will see Ben Ainslie Racing become J.P. Morgan BAR. Sailing is full of title sponsorship deals where the athlete’s brand recognition is surrendered in order to get the money to continue to participate in the sport. Many sailors don’t have the profile to turn the relationship on its head, but Ben Ainslie is one who perhaps could.

Riding on a wave of recognition that saw Ainslie carry the flag for Team GB at the closing ceremony of London 2012 and make an appearance on the hard-hitting BBC current affairs show Newsnight – Ben’s sponsor and PR team chose yesterday to announce the new sponsorship. While it might have been the only day that Ainslie could fit in a sail up the Thames between the period restricting the promotion of non-Olympic sponsors and flying out to San Francisco – the publicity stunt neatly ensured that coverage of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week and the Artemis Challenge was upstaged by J.P. Morgan.

J.P. Morgan Asset Management has been a long term supporter of Ben Ainslie, supporting the sailor from 2007 through two Finn World Championships, two Olympic gold medals and a World Match Racing Tour championship while Ben was sailing under the TeamOrigin banner.

Ben said:
“J.P. Morgan has been such an important part of the team helping me achieve my success in the Finn over the last six years. I am delighted that the firm is now part of the BAR team, too. It’s so important to have that support with the America’s Cup World Series starting so soon after the Games.”

Roger Thompson, Chief Operating Officer at J.P. Morgan Asset Management:
“J.P. Morgan has been a long-term supporter of Ben Ainslie in the UK and we are very excited to develop that partnership on a global scale as he challenges for the America’s Cup World Series. We are proud to have played a part in his success, and look forward to cheering Ben on as he begins this new chapter of his extraordinary sailing career.

The Ben Ainslie Racing Team is a gift for J.P. Morgan. The team is ‘underwritten’ by the defenders of the 34th America’s Cup – ORACLE Racing USA, so participation in the World Series events was guaranteed anyway. The Asset Management firm gets some nice TV coverage and exposure on San Francisco Bay for a fraction of the cost of what some of the other sponsors have paid. It will be interesting to see if J.P. Morgan has the appetite to fund a full America’s Cup campaign for the 35th edition of the race, but Ben has to help ORACLE win the 34th one first.

Ainslie’s Olympic success is also a welcome marketing boost for the America’s Cup World Series – though it remains to be seen if the British athlete will draw crowds to the shores of San Francisco Bay next week.

The World’s Greatest Olympic Sailor’ head to head with ‘The Youngest Skipper to Win the America’s Cup’ is something that could get people excited – at least it would, if they were sailing a boat where there was only one person in it and it wasn’t named after a multinational company.



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