BMW turns to sail power

Munich. BMW is increasing marketing activities in international sports sponsorships, including sailing.

The sailing cooperation with US software giant Oracle will be renamed "BMW Oracle Racing" and BMW officials hope that the team will win the America's Cup in 2007.

Until now the team was called "Oracle BMW Racing."

"The new name stands for an equal partnership, such as the BMW Williams Formula 1 team," said BMW board member for sales and marketing Michael Ganal.

He said that the brand is spending more money on the sponsorship. He did not disclose any specific figures, but BMW spends an estimated 25 million euros a year on sailing.

"With this team we can perfectly aim at the sailing community as BMW's premium target group," Ganal said.

He said there is an enormous interest in the America's Cup in the USA, BMW's most important market. He called the sailing sponsorship the "second most important pillar" of BMW's sports activities, after Formula 1 but before golf.

BMW also wants to give more technological support to the team. The brand will supply four research engineers to work on the project.

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