SBJ/December 11 - 17, 2006/This Weeks News

MainGate retail sites in store for IndyCar

MainGate Inc., a merchandising and marketing company in Indianapolis, didn’t have to stray from its backyard to find its newest partners.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series have agreed to a five-year deal with MainGate, which will operate an on-site mobile retail store at each of the venues on the IndyCar circuit beginning with the 2007 season. MainGate will pay IMS, which handles merchandising for the IndyCar Series, an unspecified royalty based on sales.

MainGate will operate mobile stores like
this one at IndyCar Series venues.

As the exclusive retail and merchandise partner with IMS and IndyCar, MainGate also will manufacture much of the goods, such as T-shirts, caps and other apparel, that will be sold in the mobile store. Additionally, MainGate will purchase products from IMS’s other licensees to sell in the traveling retail unit.

“We were already one of the speedway’s largest licensees and have been for years. Now we can go on-site with that merchandise and more,” said David Moroknek, MainGate’s president, speaking from Las Vegas, where his company was handling the on-site retail sales for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

MainGate has been around since 1963 and during most of the last 43 years was known for coordinating event merchandise sales for the NHRA as Sport Service.

Moroknek was hired about four years ago when the company changed its name to MainGate and began diversifying. It now has deals with Danica Patrick Racing, various NBA and NHL teams and in the past has handled on-site merchandise sales for NBA and NHL all-star games. In 2008, MainGate will become the exclusive merchandise partner for the Indianapolis Colts.

As part of the deal with IMS and IndyCar, MainGate will construct a retail store at each venue with about 3,600 square feet of space. The climate-controlled store travels in an 18-wheeler and unfolds at the site with the help of several large beams and a floor designed to give shoppers the feel of a store, not a tent.

MainGate’s research shows that the average sale is $10 more in a store concept than in a typical merchandise trailer, Moroknek said.

“They do this for other people as well and they know motorsports and racing fans, which can be somewhat of an acquired taste,” said Terry Angstadt, IMS’s vice president of marketing. “The tough part of it is how to travel the show and that’s the new element for us.”

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