SBJ/November 12-18, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Pocono Raceway hires Front Row Marketing to sell sponsorships, manage analytics

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Editor’s note: This story is revised from the print edition.

Pocono Raceway has hired Comcast-Spectacor’s Front Row Marketing to sell race title sponsorships, sign sponsors and manage sales analytics for the facility’s NASCAR and IndyCar races.

The move is expected to bring an end to Pocono’s practice of forgoing title sponsorships for its marquee NASCAR races. It also gives Front Row its first motorsports facility client.

After selling naming rights to NASCAR races for years to Coca-Cola, Sam Goody’s and others, Pocono’s owner, the late Dr. Joe Mattioli, decided to stop selling them in the mid-1990s. It wasn’t until Sunoco and the Red Cross approached the raceway in 2008 and offered it a cause-related deal — the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 — that the facility began selling them again. It’s had a half-dozen title sponsorships over the last four or five years, according to Pocono Raceway President Brandon Igdalsky.

“My grandfather got rid of entitlements because he got tired of looking at the schedule and seeing four races with the same name,” Igdalsky said. “It lost the identity of what Pocono was. But entitlements are part of the game now, and it’s important to brands and the sponsors around us to have that visibility.”

Front Row President Chris Lencheski said his company will concentrate on finding race sponsors and facility sponsors who are new to motorsports.

“Brandon and his team know the sponsors in the garage,” Lencheski said. “They don’t need our help with that. We’re talking to people that aren’t involved in the sport — a lot of folks who may know the NASCAR story, but they don’t necessarily know the Pocono story.”

Pocono will continue to work with FullCircle Ventures, which it hired earlier this year to represent it for corporate sponsorship sales.

Front Row, which will be its primary agency of record, will be on a retainer.

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