SBJ/20100816/This Week's News

New IndyCar sponsor Verizon launching app

Verizon’s focus on developing exclusive wireless programming for its handsets has led to a sponsorship and content deal with the Izod IndyCar Series.

Verizon will soon launch an IndyCar app that has live timing and scoring from events; driver and team information; highlights; streaming of broadcasts; and social-networking links. The deal makes Verizon one of the more integrated partners in the sport, with sponsorship of Penske Racing’s Will Power to go along with its new series sponsorship and content play.

The free IndyCar app initially will be available on Android and BlackBerry devices. Future phases of development could make it adaptable to other handheld devices as well.

The free IndyCar app will include live
timing from events, highlights
and streaming.

Verizon and the series did not release financial terms of their deal, but industry sources said it’s a multiyear agreement valued at $1 million annually and gives Verizon the designation of official wireless carrier of the series, in addition to the content.

Verizon is the U.S. market-share leader in the wireless service industry. It has been running ads featuring Power on ABC and Versus broadcasts of IndyCar events.

“They have a very aggressive marketing plan and they’re looking for ways to bring greater benefits to their customers through unique content,” said Greg Gruning, IndyCar’s vice president of sales. “For us, when you talk about growing your fan base, this is a great opportunity because Verizon brings 99 million subscribers.”

Gruning said the IndyCar Series’ ability to own and control its assets was critical in making the deal happen. IndyCar owns its website as well as the live and archived digital content that comes from the track.

Verizon’s motorsports marketing agency, Indianapolis-based Just Marketing International, worked with the company on the deal.

Verizon is still planning how IndyCar will come into play at its retail locations, but creative and promotional plans are in the works. Verizon also has a NASCAR Nationwide Series sponsorship at Penske and is in the final year of sponsoring Penske’s Sprint Cup car driven by Brad Keselowski.

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