SBJ/March 5 - 11, 2007/This Weeks News

Lowe’s building on to ALMS ties

Lowe’s plans to ramp up its investment in the American Le Mans Series this week when it announces a new partnership with the sports-car series.

Lowe’s, which already sponsors two Fernandez Racing Acuras, has agreed to become the official home improvement store for the ALMS. Terms were not available.

Lowe’s already sponsors two Fernandez Racing
Acuras in the American Le Mans Series.

“We believe this is a perfect fit for us,” said Bob Gfeller, Lowe’s senior vice president of marketing and advertising. “The combination of the sport’s skyrocketing growth and our involvement with the Fernandez race team will support our efforts to reach out to the growing Hispanic population. We hope to help bring the American Le Mans Series home for race fans who want to improve their homes or enhance their businesses.”

Lowe’s leaped into the ALMS in 2006 with its team sponsorships. Lowe’s CEO Robert Niblock cited the ALMS’ demographics as an attraction.

“We open stores in all demographic markets and they can be very wide,” Niblock said last fall. “The demos of the ALMS would skew above the NASCAR customer, but they may still enjoy doing a lot of things themselves.

“The [do-it-yourself] people are very proud of their home, they want to do things to improve their home, so whether they choose to do it or they want to turn it over to someone else through our installation program, all of those things would skew very well with this demographic.”

Niblock added that business owners in the ALMS crowds are a target, as well.

“About a fourth of our business is with the commercial customer,” he said. “As we’re continuing to drive the project side of the stores and sell more of the premium merchandise, all of that dovetails nicely with the consumer who follows this series.”

Lowe’s official status with the ALMS will include at-track promotions and signage, in-market activation, television ads, program features, and a Web site co-promotion.

At six events throughout the year, the store will unveil a Lowe’s Fan Experience, which will include a component for children who want to build their own scaled model of a Fernandez car.

Lowe’s also plans to team with another official sponsor of the ALMS, Klein Tools. Lowe’s on Saturday in Orlando is scheduled to unveil the Klein Tools Pit Stop, a demonstration station that will travel to other stores during the ALMS race weeks.

On the Web, Lowe’s and the ALMS have created the Lowe’s Fantasy Racing League, with winners playing for $12,000 in Lowe’s gift cards. Players sign up at americanlemans.com or lowesracing.com.

Lowe’s also plans to support Fernandez Racing’s Habitat for Humanity project in Houston next month.

“Lowe’s commitment is certainly one that will add to our series’ strong growth and momentum,” said Scott Atherton, CEO and president of the ALMS.

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