Death of Mateschitz. The Red Bull galaxy, the big moneymaker of world sport.

Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz, who died aged 78 on Saturday, bet on sports sponsorship to not depend solely on revenue from his energy drink as much as to give him unparalleled exposure. In thirty years, the firm has become an essential partner of world sport.

Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz died on Saturday at the age of 78.
Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz died on Saturday at the age of 78.


Its energy drink “giving wings”, Red Bull has established its sports sponsorship policy with extreme sports. From cliff diving to wingsuit (freefall in a winged suit), from surfing to aerobatics, to the paroxysm of freefall jumping from space during which the Austrian Felix Baumgartner crossed the wall of the his in 2012, no extraordinary feat seems to be possible without being marked with the two winged bulls.

Red Bull organizes competitions (freestyle skiing world championships) and sponsors the stars of their discipline: Lindsey Vonn, Alexis Pinturault in skiing, the Slovenian Janja Garnbret, Olympic champion in climbing, Luc Alphand or Stéphane Peterhansel in rally-raid: none ever part with a Red Bull helmet or cap. Provided we see the mark.

Alongside extreme sports, Red Bull is committed to two giant disciplines of world sport. With immediate success in Formula 1 where the Austrian firm bought the Jaguar Racing team in 2005 and won five years later, in 2010 thanks to Sebastian Vettel, a first title of world champion for drivers.

The German driver brought Red Bull three more championship titles before the era of Max Verstappen began. The Dutchman, fed at Toro Rosso, a branch of Red Bull Racing, first broke all precocity records in F1 before becoming world champion in his turn in 2021, further filling the brand’s record in F1.

In football, Red Bull needs to be more patient. In 2005, the group acquired the Salzburg club, near Fuschl-am-See where its headquarters are located. Then, the Austrian company offered the New York MetroStars franchise in 2006, renamed New York Red Bulls, where Thierry Henry evolved. Each time, she gives her name to the team and to the stadium where it evolves. A strategy impossible to apply with Leipzig, his third club, based in Germany, bought in 2009 in the 5th division.

The Premier League as a goal

With German law prohibiting the use of a company name in a club’s name, the board decided to call their club RasenBallsport Leipzig (« lawn ball sport »), whose initials « RB recall those of Red Bull.

From 2016, the club moved up to the first division. The following year, he qualified for the Champions League after finishing in second place in the championship, but still seemed far from being able to win the big-eared cup, the firm’s avowed objective.

It nevertheless continues its expansion eyeing, thanks to the round ball, the South American continent, a bottomless financial windfall for its drinks, and the English Premier League, the most exposed and most lucrative championship in the world.

More than 700 sponsored athletes

Red Bull also accompanies the athletes themselves in all disciplines, from the biggest stars to the hopes on which it bets. Among them, the famous Brazilian footballer Neymar, whom Red Bull regularly stages through mini-series, with Sean Garnier for example, famous freestyler, another Red Bull athlete.

With the exception of Neymar, the Austrian brand, very discreet in the way and the amounts it spends on its athletes, is essential in the very practice of certain athletes. Athletes in « niche » sports, little practiced in the world, little followed, but very visual, are financed by Red Bull without which they would probably not be able to practice their discipline. In return, the firm is mounting a film project, necessarily spectacular, where its logo will appear on all the images.

Muaythai, the pioneer

Anecdotally, Red Bull began its sports sponsorship with Thai boxing in 1984. This year, Dietrich Mateschitz created the drink with his Thai collaborator, Chaleo Yoovidhya. Already struck with the red bull, launched in 1987, it then adorns the shorts of Thai boxers and is displayed in large format in all stadiums in Thailand, where it all began.


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