Sponsors still support struggling Schumacher

By on Wednesday, May 25, 2011

May 25 (GMM) Michael Schumacher's high-paying sponsors are reportedly holding firm despite his disappointing comeback form.

Triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart told Auto Motor und Sport that, despite his record 91 wins and seven titles, the 42-year-old German "has damaged his reputation" since returning to formula one last year.

As he began his comeback, the German signed Swiss sponsors including Jet Set, Navyboot and Audemars Piguet, and F1 sponsorship expert Zak Brown estimates Schumacher commanded "a fee of about $1 million" for the personal endorsements.

"With every race he doesn't finish or score a point, his brand equity is being progressively eroded," sports business strategy professor Simon Chadwick told the Bloomberg news agency.

Swiss watch maker Audemars Piguet, however, is standing firm with Schumacher, explaining that it was "first and foremost the man and his overall career" that prompted the decision to sponsor him.

Shoe brand Navyboot's chief executive, meanwhile, said he is "very sure that he (Schumacher) will be back on the winning track" soon.

Swiss sportswear label Jet Set declined to comment.

Brown, whose company Just Marketing has negotiated many high profile F1 sponsorships, insists Schumacher is still delivering value of money for his backers.

"It's not like he's coming 18th in races," he said.

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