SPONSORS: FEDERAL EXPRESS

Name: Federal Express

The Federal Express company began life as a term paper written by Mississippi student Frederick Smith at Yale in 1966. At the time he was studying for a bachelor's degree in economics and envisaged a transportation company which would distribute documentation from coast-to-coast using a central hub. The company was designed to speed up the movement of government. Between 1966 and 1970 Smith served as an officer with the US Marines in Vietnam and it was not until 1971 that he set up Federal Express in Little Rock, Arkansas. It was a further two years before the company began operations. Memphis Tennessee was chosen as the headquarters of the company because of its central location in the United States and its good climate. Memphis International Airport was convinced to provide hangar space and a sorting area for the Federal Express parcels and the first flights took place on April 17 1973 when 14 small aircraft took off from Memphis carrying a total of 186 packages to 25 different cities. In 1974 the company spent $150,000 on television advertising in six local markets and business increased to from 3000 to 10,000 packages per night and the growth continued in 1978 with income raised by the flotation of the business on the New York Stock Exchange. The use of innovative computer technology to track parcels was an important element in the growth of the business and by 1981 Federal Express had expanded into Canada and then Europe in the mid-1980s. In 1985 the firm began its Federal Express Ground service and international expansion continued with the acquisition in 1989 of Flying Tigers.

In 1994 the company decided to change its brandname and logo and introduced FedEx as part of its expansion into the global markets. The following year FedEx opened an important new hub at Subic Bay in the Philippines which enabled a major push into the Pacific markets and the acquisition of several routes from Evergreen International opened up the Chinese market.

The company now has stations in 213 countries around the world and its fleet of planes cover around 500,000 miles a day. It has annual revenues exceeding $18 billion but continues to expand. As part of that expansion FedEx began its involvement in motor racing in the middle of 1997 as a sponsor of the Benetton team. In 1998 it became the title sponsor of the CART series and in 1999 began its current relationship with Ferrari.

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