Rich Energy, the energy-drink sponsor that gained notoriety during its tenure as the title sponsor of the Haas Formula 1 team in 2019, is at it again. Earlier this week, the Rich Energy HQ Twitter account announced that it would no longer be sponsoring OMG Racing, a British Superbikes team that is currently leading its championship. There’s just one problem: OMG Racing doesn’t actually agree with that statement.
“Rich Energy would like to thank OMG Racing for their work in the last 2 years but the whole agreement is now at an end,” the Twitter post read. “Rich Energy is expanding its portfolio in many spheres including sport.”
If you click that link to Rich Energy’s website, you’re taken to a site under construction. To buy any product, you have to send an email.
According to Motorsport Magazine, OMG Racing team principal Paul Curran “said he was considering blocking reporters’ phone numbers” after a long morning of calls from journalists seeking clarification on the situation.
Earlier today, OMG Racing released a team statement on the matter that read, in part:
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. The sponsorship also extended to support the team when contesting the Northwest 200 and the Isle of Man TT Races in 2022.
So, Rich Energy OMG Racing apparently isn’t sponsored by Rich Energy, it’s sponsored by RichOMG Limited. Two totally different companies. Which is fine — except, we’ve been through this weird fracturing before.
If you need a refresher on the Haas drama, here it is in a nutshell: Rich Energy signed as Haas’ title partner for the 2019 F1 season. Halfway through that season, Rich Energy tweeted that it was no longer sponsoring Haas. Except, some parts of Rich Energy’s corporate organization disagreed. Haas itself disagreed. Then, Rich Energy split; one party kept the Rich Energy name while the other became Lightning Volt. At the end of the day, though, Haas ended up without a title sponsor in what was one of the more embarrassing fiascos of modern F1 history.
That poor track record hasn’t exactly stopped other race teams, drivers, or series from turning to Rich Energy as a prospective sponsor. Since the falling-out with Haas, Rich Energy has secured deals with OMG Racing in British Superbikes and Rich Energy BTC Racing in the British Touring Car Championship. The former is currently falling apart; let’s see what happens with the latter.
Perhaps most fascinating, though, is that Rich Energy has dropped OMG during a season of solid performance (which it was most definitely lacking in the Haas era). Right now, Bradley Ray of the Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha is leading the Superbikes championship with 216 points — 16 more than his closest title rival. The team’s other rider, Kyle Ryde, sits in fifth place. I can’t say that this sounds like the ideal time to cut ties.
Rich Energy has long been a part of some frankly fascinating sponsorship strategies, but I have to say that the OMG model appears to be one of the most... complex, shall we say. If only someone were writing a book about this that could shed more light onto the chaos.