SBJ/October 10-16, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Sponsors on board for Vegas season finale

The Izod IndyCar Series’ decision to turn its last race of the season into a championship event persuaded seven series sponsors to activate, nearly quadrupling the amount of sponsor participation from its 2010 season finale.

The series, which will host its final race — the Izod IndyCar World Championships at Las Vegas Presented by Honda — this Sunday, secured sponsorship support for the event from its existing partners: Verizon, Honda Power, Boy Scouts of America, Green Fuel, Lincoln Electric, KYMCO and AirMed. It also signed event sponsors GoDaddy, Fuzzy’s Vodka, Monster Energy Cup, the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Association and MGM to support the event.

When IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard decided to rebrand the last race of the season as a championship event and relocate it to Las Vegas, one of his goals was to generate interest among sponsors around the conclusion of the season. The series estimates the collective marketing spending of sponsors around the event to be in the low seven figures, up from high-six-figure spending in 2010.

Bernard said the interest of sponsors has helped the series sell 90 percent of the racetrack’s suite inventory for the race. He expects the event will be one of the most attended races of the year by corporate guests.

Verizon, which signed as an IndyCar sponsor in 2010, is providing fans with a free concert by Good Charlotte on Saturday. It also will have a display in the series’ fan zone, serve as the presenting partner for parade car laps, and promote the race online and on TV.

Honda, which signed as the presenting sponsor of the race, will promote its Honda Power division at the track. The company will bring its generators to the track’s fan zone and promote how quiet they are through the tag line “Hear No Evil.” The automaker also will celebrate its last year as the exclusive engine supplier for the series. It will have associates from Honda Performance Development, the company’s racing arm, at the race and will host them for a cookout after the race on Sunday.

GoDaddy agreed to sponsor the competition within the competition at the season finale. Driver Dan Wheldon, who despite winning the Indianapolis 500 this year was not a series regular, will start at the back of the field and stands to win $5 million if he wins the race.

Fuzzy’s Vodka will present a party and have locations throughout the track during the race; the Boy Scouts will host a pinewood derby on Saturday; Green Fuel will promote its “Race to Energy Independence” program; Lincoln Electric will raffle off a welder; KYMCO, a motor scooter company, will hold a sweepstakes for a free scooter; and AirMed will sponsor a celebrity blackjack tournament during the weekend.

IndyCar is finalizing its schedule for the 2012 season and hasn’t decided if it will return to Vegas for its season finale, but Bernard said that it will host a championship event to conclude next season.

“It would be great to make Vegas the home,” Bernard said.
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