Jul 01, 2020 | Risk Management

Accelerating partnerships across the globe

Midway through 2018, in what would go on to be MB Partners’ most successful year yet for its roster of professional racing drivers, Western Union Business Solutions launched its partnership with the global sports management and marketing group. In the time since, both organisations have worked together closely to help MB Partners’ array of clients, sponsors and partners across the world to efficiently navigate cross-border payments.

Mark Blundell

By Mark Blundell former Formula One Driver and Chief Executive Officer of MB Partners

Here, Mark Blundell discusses the global nature of elite motorsport and the true benefits and importance of working with Western Union Business Solutions across this sector. Beyond that, Mark illustrates how it is an alignment of principles that underlines the effectiveness of the partnership thus far and his excitement of how the future looks together.

“My fellow Directors and I have always been and continue to be firm in our belief that successful business is predicated upon successful partnerships and our broad-ranging relationship with Western Union Business Solutions is a fantastic example of that. For ourselves as a business, for our clients competing on track across the globe and for our array of commercial partners, we pride ourselves on putting our people first and that marries excellently with how together our partnership combines a people-centred approach with world-leading insight, technology and service.

“It is a terrible pun I know, but things happen very quickly in motorsport and we have to be ready to adapt to them as and when things inevitably change. That might be that a racing driver client is called up at short notice to step into a seat the other side of the world for an upcoming race or that an opportunity has arisen for a partner out of the blue and we need to be well placed to take advantage of it. The best way for us to do that is to surround ourselves and our clients with industry-leaders at every turn and we are very lucky to have exactly that in the shape of Western Union Business Solutions.

“Like everyone at this time, we are trying to navigate the uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic presents us. As fantastic as the global appeal of top-level motorsport is, it is actually causing us some issues right now. While other sports can be focusing on how they can restart their domestic level competitions, that is something which elite motorsport is fundamentally struggling with. For us, a single event, whether that be a Formula One race, Formula E or the World Endurance Championship as an example, needs an almost unimaginable logistical operation just to make it feasible. We are talking about bringing together teams, drivers, staff members, sponsors and media from every corner of the world and doing that in a safe and secure way is very difficult right now.

“In times of unpredictability, an even greater focus is placed upon the financial sustainability of our clients and our array of partners. In our position, we are very lucky to have strong relationships which promote honest conversations ensuring any type of risk is mitigated wherever possible. Naturally, we are facing a lot of questions at the moment - when will this happen? What if this doesn’t go ahead as planned? And how do I prepare myself if the worst happens? Personally, the real reason that this current situation is such an outlier, is that no one knows the answers at this stage. That though is not the time to bury your head in the sand but instead to surround yourselves with the best in class and support each other through tough times.

“While many things about this pandemic are hard to predict, the value of insight and knowledge at this moment is incredibly important. Thanks to our partnership, we have been able to provide our client portfolio and our commercial partner network with industry-leading insight on market volatility, fraud protection and much more.

“Alongside our sporting talent portfolio, much of our work as an agency surrounds our B2B platform and our associated networks. While sport, hospitality and events may have been brought to a standstill in recent months, my fellow Directors and I have taken great heart from how our partners are reaching out to each other to see how they can help each other through this period. Many of these partnerships are ones that have been built over decades and I firmly believe that the old-school values on which our work is built, trust, camaraderie and relationships, are as important now as they ever have been.

“Having that level of trust and relationship with any partner is incredibly important and we see the benefits of enjoying that with Western Union too. Introducing their team to any of our partners, clients and broader associated network comes safe in the knowledge that not only will they provide industry-leading service and support but they will also respect the depth of relationship that allows MB Partners to facilitate such introductions.

“If anything, this current situation has allowed everyone to reflect and take some time to think about their businesses and their clients. It might seem simplistic but for us, inside and outside of sport, MB Partners is about doing good business with good people. Through our partnership work with WUBS, we have the best of both worlds in that respect, acknowledging the key role that they play in supporting our clients’ and partners’ financial needs and doing so in a way that promotes long-term effective relationships between us all.