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 |  Nov 09 2011, 12:30 PM

Fans of Formula 1 racing and Lotus must have spent this year feeling a bit confused regarding who they should support, since there were two teams going by the name Lotus.

There was Team Lotus, a private team founded by Tony Fernandes (who also owns Caterham Cars), and then there was Group Lotus which was run by Lotus (the guys who make the cars) and their parent company Proton.

The two teams fought over the naming rights. Group Lotus said that the name Lotus belongs to them, while Team Lotus said that their name has always operated in motorsports as a separate entity to the road car business.

Who gets what naming rights was up to the courts to decide, and the verdict is in. Group Lotus is to keep the rights to the Lotus name in motorsports, which means they now own the rights to the Team Lotus name also.

In what is being described as a amicable settlement between the two parties, the former Team Lotus, which is also owned by 1 Malaysia Racing Team, will rename themselves as the Caterham F1 Team for the 2012 season.

Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar said at the announcement that, “On behalf of Group Lotus and Proton, I would like to express how pleased we are that this matter is finally closed and we can now focus on looking forward to the future.”

The new deal will also lead to a working relationship between the two parties over future automotive projects.

Caterham, a company that started out life as a Lotus dealer, who got the manufacturing rights to the Lotus 7 and has been producing the car for over 30 years now, will now be its own force in Formula 1. Recognition of the Caterham brand will thus grow on a global scale.

 |  Oct 05 2011, 2:15 PM

If you’re a New Orleans Saints fan, you’ll soon be watching the NFL team play at the newly named Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The automaker has just signed a 10-year agreement that gives Mercedes-Benz official naming rights as well as other sponsorship benefits, such as being named the official and exclusive vehicle of the Saints.

The timing couldn’t be better, as the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in Louisiana will be hosting the 2012 Men’s Final Four, the BCS Championship Game, and one of the biggest sporting events of 2013, the Super Bowl. It’s Mercedes-Benz’s first naming rights deal in the U.S. and for the New Orleans stadium as well, which just went through a $336 million renovation that took six years to complete.

“The joining of the Mercedes-Benz brand with the world-class Saints organization and the Superdome, an iconic destination which has undergone an incredible transformation over the past six years, is a significant moment for us, the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana,” said Ernst Lieb, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA.  “Our commitment over the next decade is to the Saints fans, team, and this famous community as it flourishes beyond anyone’s expectations.”

There’s no word how much this 10-year agreement cost Mercedes-Benz, but it does come with a host of branding and signage opportunities for the luxury automaker. As part of the deal, all of the Saints print and online publications will feature Mercedes-Benz content and advertising. As an extra bonus, Mercedes-Benz will have access to Saints coaches and players for special events and promotions, which is sure to pull in a big crowd.