Felix Baumgartner's Edge Of Space Freefall Earns $60 Million+ In Value For Sponsors

By Barry Janoff

October 17, 2012: When Felix Baumgartner stepped into space and took a 24-mile leap to Earth on Oct. 14, he landed in New Mexico and onto the radar screens of more than 12 million people who watched his four minute, 20 second journey.

The 43-year-old Austrian skydiver, who at one point became the first human to break the sound barrier under his own power, also put his partners on the worldwide marketing web to the tune of some $63 million in sponsor value, according to Front Row Analytics, a division of Comcast-Spectator's Front Row Marketing Services.

"The record jump pulled in almost $63 million in sponsor value not just for primary brand partner Red Bull, but for Zenith watches, Riedel Communications and Cypres Skydiving devices, all of which were part of Baumgartner’s successful leap," according to Front Row Analytics.

The breakdown of overall value bodes best for lead sponsor Red Bull, which garnered a projected  $48,116,333 from the branding exposure of the Red Bull Stratos project. Lead sponsor Zenith Watches will receive an estimated $12,401,300. And secondary sponsors including Cypres and Riedel will realize $1.5 million and $216,000, respectively, in media value, according to Front Row Analytics.

“Given the timing of the jump on a crowded Sunday afternoon, it is amazing how much exposure the record quickly received,” said Eric Smallwood, svp for Front Row Analytics. “While many focused just on Red Bull and their partnership, his secondary sponsors also pulled in some record dollars, again showing that timing and brand placement is everything when looking for exposure.”

Baumgartner, an ex-Austrian paratrooper, has been aligned with Red Bull since 1988, and the Red Bull Stratos project itself has been in progress since 2005. No total cost has been on the event, which would include millions to build and launch the space capsule and the cost of the specialized suit he wore, among other high-end accoutrements.

Front Row Analytics said they arrived at the $63 million figure "by looking at the branding exposure from signage, verbal mentions, on-screen text and logo placement) from Felix’s space suit, space capsule, lift crane, support team clothing, spectators apparel from the Live broadcast on YouTube and Discovery Channel in the U.S. and Canada." In addition, they analyzed the value received from broadcasts outside of North  America in more than 200 countries.

In addition, Front Row Analytics projected the value that will be received from all other exposure coming from the live jump, including "special TV programs, news radio and TV broadcast highlights prior to and well after the jump; newsprint and magazine editorial content and photographs; social media and Internet exposure and other ancillary exposure, such as promotional spots and merchandise."

Among other post-jump ventures, Discovery Channel/National Geographic is producing a special broadcast. Baumgartner's long-term marketing impact is being debated by analysts. Baumgartner said this would be his last such extreme challenge.

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