NASCAR » 1 October 2009
Gillett reveals Saudi deal
George Gillett, whose family is the majority owner of Richard Petty Motorsports, has entered into a "commercial collaboration" agreement with F6, a leading Saudi Arabia-based sports management firm founded and led by Saudi Arabian Prince Faisal bin Fahad bin Abdullah Al Saud.
According to a news release from F6, the agreement includes the Liverpool soccer team and is designed to explore business opportunities in soccer, stock-car racing and interactive media in Saudi Arabia.
The framework for a partnership in NASCAR also has been established to consider the development of a stock-car racing circuit and racing schools in the country and elsewhere in the Middle East.
"The Middle East sport market has immense growth potential as eager fans in the region demand access to more diverse, higher calibre competition," Gillett said in the news release. "I am delighted, enthusiastic, and honored to have the opportunity to partner with such a visionary in His Highness Prince Faisal."
The announcement of the collaboration has led to reports of the sale of Liverpool and Richard Petty Motorsports, which have been denied by spokesmen from both teams.
Gillett owns Liverpool with Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks and owns RPM with Petty Holdings, Richard Petty and Ray Evernham. RPM also announced it had a letter-of-intent to merge with Yates Racing.
"George Gillett is at the helm of some of the most powerful and celebrated sports brands in the world," Prince Faisal said in the news release. "F6 is energised about the strategic partnership with his groups and seeks to lead the way with our investment partners in identifying the brands, personalities, facilities, and media that will catalyze the evolution of sporting experiences in the Kingdom and beyond, thereby introducing thousands of quality employment opportunities within Saudi Arabia."
Richard Petty Motorsports released its own statement Tuesday, saying, "Foster Gillett (son of George Gillett and managing partner of RPM) has confirmed there are no major ownership changes contemplated at Richard Petty Motorsports. The Gilletts are majority owners of Richard Petty Motorsports and plan on being so for a long time."
Although the F6 news release stated that the group would explore opportunities for NASCAR racing in Saudi Arabia, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said NASCAR is not involved in the Gillett-F6 agreement.
The news release also said that the racing schools would be Richard Petty racing schools, but those rights belong to Petty Holdings, which is not part of the Gillett-F6 agreement.
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