SBJ/October 10-16, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Global RallyCross signs Wasserman for business development

The organizers of the Global RallyCross Championship, which is televised on ESPN, have hired Wasserman Media Group to manage business development.

The nascent motorsports series, which features action sports stars like Travis Pastrana and Brian Deegan, is set to launch its second season in 2012 and has a commitment from ESPN to televise five races in prime time following NASCAR Nationwide Series telecasts.

Brian Gale, president of RallyCross Management, said that after the first season, organizers sat down and decided that to expand the series it needed to hire agencies with expertise in marketing and event organization. It spent the last two months searching for a marketing and business development agency before selecting Wasserman Media Group from four candidates.

“The difference to us was [Wasserman Media Group principal] Steve [Astephen] understood and spoke the same language we did and had the same vision we did about where we want to go,” Gale said. “We have so much going on with running the races and expanding this thing, which is all new in the U.S. … and we wanted someone who could help us grow.”

Astephen, who oversees Wasserman’s action sports division, said the agency will look to sign non-exclusive sponsorships in the automotive, tire and energy drink categories. The agency will seek exclusive deals in other categories such as cell phones, electronics and retail.

“I think [RallyCross] could be as big as NASCAR,” Astephen said. “We’re putting all our eggs in their basket and it’s an easy sell for us. Even in this market, the 18- to 30-year-old male is still a powerful consumer and these are cars you can actually buy off the lot. This is a perfect sport and demographic.”

In addition to getting Wasserman Media Group’s assistance with sponsorship sales, Global RallyCross received a commitment from the agency’s top rally drivers and action sports stars to participate. Wasserman-represented drivers Pastrana, Ken Block and Dave Mirra are all committed to join top returning drivers such as Deegan and defending champion Tanner Foust for the second season.

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