The National Championship Air Races are in search of a title sponsor after Swiss watch maker Breitling decided not to continue its sponsorship.
“We’re out there trying to find another title sponsor,” said Air Races CEO Mike Crowell. “There are a lot of people we’re in contact with and we have some possibilities. We’ll be fine (this year) if we don’t get one. We had a good year. Our costs are very much in line with how they should be. We’re very positive about the future.”
Air Races officials reported in November that they were anticipating a profit of $100,000 from the 2015 event at Reno-Stead Airport, a boost for the 52-year-old special event that had struggled financially during the great recession and in the aftermath of a devastating crash in 2011 that killed a race pilot and 10 people on the ground.
Breitling, a sponsor of the races for nearly two decades, was a big part of the event surviving those lean years. The company also was the title sponsor of the Unlimited Gold championship race. Crowell said Breitling's decision to discontinue its title sponsorship was made in October, though not publicly announced. Emails and phone messages seeking comment from Breitling representatives were not returned on Tuesday.
In 2015, Breitling brought its jet demonstration team to the Air Races for the first time, part of its first American tour. The Air Races have already booked the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team for 2016.
Tickets to the event, which is scheduled for Sept. 14-18, 2016, go on sale after the first of the year.
Crowell said specialty acts and other highlights of 2016 will be announced in January.