Max Verstappen and his decade-long Dutch sponsor Jumbo, will part ways as the retailer sets a new marketing path, divesting from motorsport while acknowledging that Red Bull’s double Formula 1 World Champion is now a global brand.
Jumbo, a Dutch chain of supermarkets of the Royal Jumbo Food Group, were part of Verstappen’s rise through the ranks to become the F1 superstar he is today, including a current $ 1.5 million per year deal. The brand also promoted Dutch drivers, sponsoring endurance projects for them to race on the international stage, including Le Mans.
Most Dutch drivers of the past ten years have benefited from Jumbo backing in some way or other, but that is now a thing of the past according to new Jumbo CEO Ton van Veen, who took over from fraud suspect Frits van Eerd, who wants to go back to its core market, and global sports sponsorship does not fit that profile.
Van Veen told AD.nl: “We want nothing to do with motorsport and the allegations. We stop with Max Verstappen and Jumbo-Visma (cycling team), for a completely different reason. That sponsorship has brought us a lot of brand awareness, but we have now won everything there is to win.”
The Jumbo boss acknowledged: “Max is a folk hero, but he performs on the absolute world stage. We are a very good food retailer, but only in the Netherlands and a little bit in Belgium. We invest more than 20 million euros in sports sponsorship every year, but I can only spend every euro once. We cannot return the money that goes to Max to the customer, or put it into sustainability or health.”
The deal with Jumbo was worth an estimated $1.5 million annually
According to the report, Van Veen has set his sights to steer Jumbo out of the heavy weather in which the supermarket finds itself currently. Apart from Van Eerd’s detention and aftermath (ongoing at the time of writing), a failed commercial regarding the World Cup in Qatar also stirred up bad publicity for the company.
The contract with the agency that made created the advertisement campaign was cancelled by Van Veen, who stated: “We need to shout less and prove more.”
According to several reports, since 2021 Jumbo paid Verstappen $1,500,000 annually to keep their branding on his race suit, helmet and clothing. The deal runs until the end of this Formula 1 season and won’t be renewed with Van Veen in charge of the retailer.
Reacting to the development, Verstappen’s manager Raymond Vermeulen said in a statement to Dutch media: “We were informed about this at an early stage, so it comes as no surprise. We knew that a lot was going to change at the company in terms of sponsoring. It had to happen sometime.
“We especially look back on ten years of successful cooperation. Max is extremely grateful for all the support. When he took his first steps in motorsport, Jumbo was behind Max. He is very grateful for that. I think when we look in the rearview mirror we can look back on ten very nice years.
“We know that stopping sponsoring Max is a well-considered decision and after a certain period of time it is also very healthy to do this. The contact with the Van Eerd family will always remain. We hold them in our hearts. We have achieved a lot and we are going to do great things. We hope we can finish with the third world title for Max,” concluded Vermeulen’s statement.