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IT'S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE AN INDYCAR PILEUP THIS MAY
Published December 13, 1995
The likely staging of two Indy car races on Memorial Day weekend may create "a potential collision" for racing advertisers and sponsors, according to today's DETROIT NEWS. CART's expected announcement next Monday in Chicago that CBS will televise a race from the Michigan Int'l Speedway on the same day as the IRL's Indy 500 should pose "enormous stakes" for sponsors "seeking to stand out amid a coming ad blitz" in '96. Sports ad spending is expected to reach a record $3.5B next year, and "dividing the audience for the premier racing event of the year will make it tougher for advertisers to stretch already strained budgets." WILL THERE BE SPONSORS? The NEWS' Phillips & Raynal note race fans "are among the most brand loyal spectators in sports," and report that Dodge, Budweiser, Chevrolet and Delco Electronics have purchased major sponsorship packages with the IRL. But, Marlboro, Firestone and MI-based KMart "are expected to play sponsorship roles" in CART's Michigan race. Chevrolet officials, longtime sponsors of the Indy 500, "are undeterred" by the CART/IRL battle, but Chevrolet General Managers Jim Perkins said the GM division "will take another look" at sponsorships "if the dispute continues." WILL THERE BE DRIVERS? Among those expected at the Michigan race include Al Unser Jr. and Emerson Fittipaldi. Others mentioned include Michael Andretti and Bobby Rahal. Eddie Cheever, Scott Brayton, Roberto Guerrero, Johnny Parsons and Arie Luyendyk are committed to Indy. Joyce Julius, a partner in an Ann Arbor sports marketing firm, says race fans will follow drivers (DETROIT NEWS, 12/13).