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Williams F1 IndyCar sponsor Rokit left the sport in shambles

George Russell drives a Rokit-sponsored Williams car during Formula 1 pre-season testing in 2020.

George Russell drives a Rokit-sponsored Williams car during Formula 1 pre-season testing in 2020.
Photo: Rudy Carezzevoli (Getty Images)

If you’ve followed motorsport — honestly, pretty much any form of motorsport – over the past few years chances are you’ve seen a car sponsored by a company called Rokit. Rokit has dipped his toes into everything from IndyCar to Formula 1 to Formula E, and he’s also struck deals with other sports teams, like the Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers and Houston Rockets. . Except, as Sportico writing, the company has left behind a trail of lawsuits, bankruptcies, and abandoned deals.

If you’ve ever wondered what, exactly, Rokit Is, well, you are not alone. The company claims to do just about everything. It sells alcohol and electric bikes and cell phones. It is to introduce game platforms and Wi-Fi in cities. Rokit Fund several radios. You can also, inexplicably, buy Health Rokit and funeral services.

While some companies have been successful in offering a diverse line of products, these companies usually don’t spring up out of thin air, signing several high-profile, multi-million dollar sponsorship deals with major sporting entities. Now, after many of those deals fell through, we’re finally getting the deep dive into the business we deserve.

From Sportico article:

Raiders due diligence, said two people familiar with the process Sporticofocused on the financial clout of the potential sponsor’s biggest backer, billionaire co-founder of Patrón Spirits Co. John Paul DeJoria, who had just sold his 70% stake in the tequila giant to Bacardi in a $5.1 billion OK. At the same time, DeJoria, who also co-founded and runs haircare juggernaut Paul Mitchell, was working with longtime UK business partner Jonathan Kendrick to bolster their mercurial 20-year-old ROK brand in Rokit.

DeJoria, although not an officer or employee, was actively involved in Rokit’s discussions with the Raiders, the sources said. They added that his involvement, in addition to multiple conversations with their counterparts at the Rockets, Chargers and Williams Racing, resulted in the Raiders signing a long-term deal with a relatively unknown entity.

(If you’re unfamiliar, that DeJoria surname is well known in racing. John Paul DeJoria’s daughter, Alexis, competes in NHRA events.)

This level of comfort didn’t really last. After brokering a 10-year deal worth over $60 million, Rokit soon owed the Raiders $5.9 million which he never paid.

Much of the article talks about other sports, but since this is an automotive website, I want to focus on the motorsport offerings. Rokit’s most high-profile deal came as title sponsor of Williams Racing, for whom he signed an $18.59 million deal just by default. This year Rokit sponsored AJ Foyt Racing in IndyCar, using his money to field Tatiana Calderon and JR Hildebrand in the team’s No. 11 machine. He then missed payments and the team was forced to retire the car from the race.

But one of the most important and perhaps the most confusing scenarios – and a question that no one really has the answer to – is why Rokit has managed to be so successful in certain sports and why he has totally missed payment in others. For example, Rokit’s title partnership with Venturi in Formula E not only lasted a full season, it also helped lead the team to a second-place finish overall.

The full article is available behind a paywall at Sportico or for free via Variety. It’s a hell of a ride, so be sure to read it.

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#Williams #IndyCar #sponsor #Rokit #left #sport #shambles

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