SBD/7/Leagues Governing Bodies

TOP RACING SPONSORS WON'T CRY OVER SPILLED INDY MILK

     Pennzoil, Texaco and Indeck announced yesterday that they
will sponsor the U.S. 500, CART's rival race to the IRL-backed
Indy 500 on Memorial Day weekend.  Those companies join Toyota
and Mercedes Benz, who Monday pledged their sponsorship to the
U.S. 500.  Pennzoil is the primary sponsor for the Hall Racing
Team, and Texaco co-sponsors the Newman-Hass Racing Team and
three other races in the CART's PPG IndyCar World Series.  U.S.
500 GM Rena Shanaman said the sponsors' support "will help us in
producing a stellar show during Memorial Day weekend" (U.S. 500).
      FOLLOW THE LEADERS?  Shanaman told THE DAILY that the
sponsorship packages are very "cost-effective" as they run for
$200,000 each, which includes a variety of promotional rights
including TV, tickets and hospitality.  Signage will be confined
as there is a limited amount of space at Michigan International
Speedway, the site of the race.  Shanaman said the sponsors
decided to link with the U.S. 500 because they "have made a
commitment to PPG and IndyCar" and that "they want to remain
consistent with their teams."  Shanaman"  "Ultimately, sponsors
want to be at the best race on Memorial Day weekend. ... They
want to be associated with a quality product."  The next
challenge for CART and sponsors is to convince viewers to tune
into ESPN for a later start time than the traditional noon Indy
start.  She feels the traditional motorsports fan will watch the
U.S. 500, but they have to attract the casual viewer to another
race taking place.  Shanaman:  "It is not automatic to tune in to
ABC on Memorial Day weekend" (THE DAILY).
     WHO WILL BLINK?  In San Antonio, Dan Cook writes on the
CART/IRL feud, adding "there aren't enough sponsors to go around
for two leagues, so Detroit could have a loud say on the matter."
But, he writes that the Big Three car-makers have been "amazingly
silent ... probably waiting to see which side wins" (SAN ANTONIO
EXPRESS NEWS, 2/7).
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