Vodafone is to sponsor Porsche’s Formula E team in a five-year deal – the telecom giant’s most significant worldwide sponsorship deal since a Formula 1 partnership with McClaren Mercedes ended in 2013.
Porsche Motorsport is entering Formula E, a global, 14-race competition for fully electric, single-seater motor racing, for the first time in the 2019/2020 season and Vodafone will be its official communications partner.
Races involving the zero-emissions cars are set to take place in 12 cities across the world including Mexico City, Hong Kong, Rome, Paris, Seoul, Berlin and New York, before culminating in London.
"Vodafone branding will be visible on the first all-electric racing cars in Porsche’s history, as well as the drivers’ uniforms, when the team makes its debut in November 2019," Vodafone said.
The five-year deal includes the provision of communications equipment and technical support.
Ahmed Essam, chief commercial officer of Vodafone Group, said: "There’s a natural alignment for Vodafone with Formula E, a next generation, technology-driven sport that appeals to a broad and ever-growing audience and that has concern for the planet at its heart."
Fritz Enzinger, vice president of Porsche Motorsport, said: "Vodafone has been a long-term partner of Porsche Motorsport and is helping us to develop both racing and street vehicle technology."
Vodafone declined to comment on the value of the sponsorship.
The telecom firm’s seven-year, Formula 1 deal with McClaren was said to be worth as much as $75m a year but Formula E, which is only in its sixth season, is likely to command a far lower figure.
Vodafone’s local markets have continued to sponsor sport and entertainment since 2013 but the global parent pulled back.
At the time, Vodafone said it had decided to end the deal because it believed its brand no longer needed the reach and level of exposure that it gained through sponsorship McLaren, according to Reuters.
The Formula E deal marks a return to global sponsorship as the telecom giant seeks to raise the profile of its brand.
Vodafone, whose key markets include the UK and Germany, is also in the final stages of an estimated £400m global media-buying agency review.