Sponsorship, The Final Frontier: NASA As The Next Formula 1

By Danny O'Leary Mar 1, 2013

Sponsorship, The Final Frontier: NASA As The Next Formula 1

Last December, testifying before the U.S.  House of Representatives’ Science, Space and Technology Committee, former Rep. Robert Walker (R-Pa.) called upon the federal government to embrace the idea that long-term, cost-saving public and private partnerships are a viable solution for obtaining the resources needed to make future NASA missions achievable.

Hearing this news, I took to the web and listened to the former congressman’s testimony, and while I disagreed with his analogy, he did make a compelling argument that allowing NASA to raise commercial revenue through sponsorship would help solve some of NASA’s budget woes.

Examining NASA through a sponsorship lens, there is a solid case to be made. The U.S. space program is a powerful but underutilized brand. It is perceived by many as a beacon and symbol of humanity’s motivation to innovate, explore and understand our universe, yet it lacks the internal bandwidth and budget to disseminate brand and mission information to the masses.

However, NASA does have the infrastructure, brand strength, reputation and newsworthiness of a major rightsholder to attract endemic and non-endemic corporate partners. In fact, brands such as Lego, Angry Birds, Honeywell, Pizza Hut and Carl’s Jr. have all benefited from NASA’s assets and supported STEM education to help drive their business, but without any monetary exchange.

Sponsorship, The Final Frontier: NASA As The Next Formula 1

Former Rep. Walker is also correct in seeing the value of NASA creating strategic business-to-business relationships, like Formula 1 team partners, where talented minds from innovative companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Raytheon, Siemens, and General Electric could come together, utilize each other’s resources, create innovative products and marketing campaigns to make NASA’s missions a reality.

With scientific exploration and innovation at its core, NASA is an untapped asset with the potential to be a valuable marketing platform for brands that could bring the partnership to life in an impactful and highly engaging way.


government/municipal assets



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