Rich Energy back in the headlines in fresh sponsorship saga
Rich Energy are making new headlines in the motorsport world, due to a bizarre situation unfolding in the British Superbikes championship.
Three years on from the sponsorship furore between Rich Energy and the Haas F1 team, which resulted in an unusually public ‘back and forth’ between Rich Energy CEO William Storey and the Haas team, the controversial energy drink company is making waves in the motorsport world once again.
However, as before, it’s not for all the right reasons, as the situation regards another ‘are they or aren’t they?’ sponsorship arrangement between Rich Energy and a racing team.
In British Superbikes, the OMG Racing Yamaha team have carried Rich Energy sponsorship and their familiar black and gold livery since early 2020.
Earlier this week, the Rich Energy Twitter account (which is unverified, but is apparently controlled by Storey) tweeted to say that the sponsorship arrangement between their company and the OMG Racing team is at an end.
“Rich Energy would like to thank @OMGRacingUK for their work in the last 2 years but the whole agreement is now at an end. Rich Energy is expanding its portfolio in many spheres including sport.”
PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT: Rich Energy would like to thank @OMGRacingUK for their work in the last 2 years but the whole agreement is now at an end. Rich Energy is expanding its portfolio in many spheres including sport. Rich Energy is now available directly at https://t.co/jYCeOPlg8A pic.twitter.com/83Ak4wP8oc
— Rich Energy HQ (@rich_energy) July 17, 2022
However, this announcement from Rich Energy seems to be beyond the remit of Storey’s control, with OMG Racing issuing a statement on Wednesday evening clarifying that the sponsorship of the BSB team isn’t directly with the drinks company.
“Following certain social media posts, press interviews, and publications over the last few days, the Rich Energy OMG Racing team would like to make a statement of facts regarding the sponsorship of the team in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship (BSB),” read the statement.
“Rich Energy OMG Racing is not, and has never been, sponsored by William Storey.
“Rich Energy OMG Racing is not, and has never been, sponsored by the Rich Energy brand owners.
“Rich Energy OMG Racing is sponsored by RichOMG Limited, the global sales and distribution rights holder for the drinks, Rich Energy (classic) and Rich Energy Sugar-Free.
“This sponsorship agreement was established in March 2020 ahead of the 2020 BSB season and remains firmly in place at this time.”
Team Statement from RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha pic.twitter.com/rWPMFbXyF2
— RICH Energy OMG Racing Yamaha (@OMGRacingUK) July 20, 2022
PlanetF1 has approached Storey for comment on the issue.
Speaking to Superbike.co.uk, Storey allegedly said: “OMG spent months prevaricating and not engaging with our lawyers. Our due diligence on them also threw up some rather worrying facts which we availed them of. They didn’t respond.
“It became clear that they could not conclude the deal we discussed in Nov 21. We spent many months waiting for them which was a waste of time.
“They could not do a deal and our corporate partners indicated they were not appropriate to be involved with the brand. We then heard first-hand from people in the paddock that OMG had been misrepresenting their position with Rich Energy and slandering the owners. This rendered their position tenuous at best.”
Asked about whether the drinks company’s ignominious split from Haas might result in fans believing a repeat of unusual behaviour, Storey said “the truth” will out.
“Firstly, if the truth over the Haas debacle was public (which I hope it will be in due course) then nobody would even suggest any criticism of Rich Energy,” he claimed.
“Any suggestion of ‘nefarious’ activity is slander and palpably untrue.
“Secondly, I have outlined that OMG failed to act in a professional manner including failing to respond to basic requests from our lawyers for many months.
“For that reason, and many others including acting in bad faith, this has happened. The whole agreement with them has come to an end. They knew this many weeks ago, yet failed to engage in any constructive talks. Rich Energy expects integrity and professionalism from all our partners.”
The controversial businessman claimed in early 2021 that Rich Energy would be a prominent sponsor on the F1 grid for the 2022 season, following the arrival of an “ally” into another team.
Posting on Twitter at the time, Storey said: “I’m delighted to announce that Rich Energy is coming back to Formula 1.
“Unfortunately, due to poor performance on and off the track [in 2019], regrettably I had to sack Haas.
“In the last year (2020), we’ve worked incredibly hard to lead a renaissance of Rich Energy worldwide where millions of consumers are trying our drink.
“Since leaving Formula 1 I have worked very diligently to engineer a return and I have noticed that there is actually a new financial reality in Formula 1.
“A strategic ally of Rich Energy has agreed to purchase a majority stake in an existing team. We did explore, with the new regulations, actually entering our own team for 2022, which would be Rich Energy Formula 1 team.
“But a friend of ours has agreed a deal for a majority stake in a F1 team, and we will become a partner of that team for 2021. Once that acquisition is announced we will become the title sponsor for 2022.”
However, despite Storey’s comments, none of these claims are yet to come to pass.