Nokia and WRC end seven-figure series sponsorship

Eric Mauk

World Rally Championship fans are used to angry race cars and fierce drivers tearing up stages around the world, but it appears that a flock of Angry Birds may have cost the WRC a sponsorship worth more than 2.5 million British pounds per year.

This is quite a big loss to the championship

WRC Commission President Jarmo Mahonen

The WRC confirmed that it has lost its seven-figure sponsorship deal with Finnish telecommunications firm Nokia, and today removed the “Powered by Nokia’ moniker from the WRC title on the series’ official website.

"This is quite a big loss to the championship," WRC Commission President Jarmo Mahonen said. "We didn't see it as just money coming in, Nokia was going to be a partner. It was a very good platform."

The partnership, which was announced almost a year ago, included an ambitious mobile technology strategy that saw Nokia creating WRC live coverage applications so fans could follow the series.

Nokia and the WRC have both suffered business setbacks this year, Nokia’s coming when its latest phone did not come with enough memory to allow customers to use many of the world’s most popular apps including Angry Birds and Skype. The WRC announced earlier in the year that a planned promotional deal with Eurosport had crumbled, leaving the series without a promoter. The series is reported to be prepared to announce its new promoter at the World Motorsport Council meeting on June 15.

The series’ will get back to on-track business from June 22-24 with the Rally New Zealand.

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Series WRC
Tags featured, mauk, nokia, rally, sponsorship, wrc