Valentino Rossi: the face and the heart of MotoGP
For fans of any given high level sport, the professionals that participate in that sport are well known, coveted, thought of as the elite of their discipline, and respected massively. For people who don’t follow a particular sport though, the vast majority of the professionals are nobodies to them. However, every so often a superstar emerges and transcends the boundaries of their sport to the point where they are known worldwide by people who care little for the sport itself. Examples of this would be Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, David Beckham, Michael Schumacher, and in the motorcycle world, a certain Valentino Rossi.
Using my case as an example, none of my close friends follow any sort of motorcycle racing, but there’s one name that they all know, and that’s Valentino Rossi. Given this fact, you start to get an idea of why he is the highest paid and most well sponsored rider in the MotoGP paddock.
Rossi burst onto the scene as a young, fresh faced teenager in the 125cc World Championship, winning races from his very first season – which hasn’t stopped until present day. Since his first season in the 125cc class in 1996, he has notched up 109 race wins and 9 World Championship titles, 7 of which are in the premier class.
It wasn’t just his success that made him popular though. The always similing, funny, charming and charismatic qualities he oozes out made him a true fan favourite, and now, at every race, you will always see a sea of yellow rooting for the popular Italian. He is the man that everyone wants to see, and as such he is the one that gets the most air time, the most pictures taken of, and has the most number of media puppets following him around like a mini fan club. This makes him a very exciting prospect for sponsors, because if you can sponsor Valentino Rossi you know you’re guaranteed brand exposure.
But it’s not just air time that sponsors are thinking of. Rossi is loved, adored, praised and worshiped, and anything that Valentino touches or associates himself with must be good. Sponsors know that if they associate themselves with him, they’ll receive some of the love and attention that he also receives.
It is for this reason that he will be the first in line for any seat at any team, and why he will always be paid the most. The teams need money to operate, and Rossi can bring that money to the table in a way unlike any other rider. Whether you believe he is ‘The Greatest of All Time’ or not, there is no questioning that he is the most loved and well paid rider in the paddock, and there’s no one on the horizon that looks like they can take that accolade away from him.
Editorial Staff RTR Pictures from the web