SBJ/May 20-26, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

C9 by Champion signs deal with Ganassi Racing

Chip Ganassi Racing signed an associate sponsorship with C9 by Champion, a Hanes brand.

The apparel line, which is available at Target, one of Ganassi’s largest sponsors, will become the official outfitter of Chip Ganassi Racing’s IndyCar and NASCAR teams. The multiyear deal is a mix of cash and value-in-kind exercise and at-track apparel.

It is the sixth associate deal Ganassi has signed this year. It also signed agreements with PNC Bank, Siemens, NTT Data, Hulu and Vizio. Collectively, those deals have boosted the race team’s revenue by more than $1 million.

Chip Ganassi Racing President Steve Lauletta credited the team’s ability to include IndyCar and NASCAR assets in its sales packages with driving its uptick in associate sales this year. He pointed to the Hulu and Vizio deals as an example. The brands bought into the idea of having exposure on cars during two of motorsports’ biggest races, the Coca-Cola 600 and Indianapolis 500. The brands will be featured as associate sponsors on Ryan Briscoe’s IndyCar in the Indy 500 and Jamie McMurray’s No. 1 Chevrolet in the Coca-Cola 600. They also will be the primary sponsor on Kyle Larson’s Nationwide Series car that weekend.

“Here’s a weekend of racing that allows us to take a partner and put them across our entire organization,” Lauletta said. “Big brands are seeing the value in that. It helps us when there’s more competition to stand alone and offer things other teams can’t.”

Lauletta said that increasingly the team is trying to emphasize to sponsors that they’re supporting the entire Chip Ganassi Racing program, not just the individual car and driver who they have aligned with for a given race.

“I say all the time that I want McDonald’s [which sponsors McMurray’s No. 1 car] to be as excited when we win an IndyCar race as a NASCAR race,” Lauletta said. “They’re part of our team.”

Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, the team’s NASCAR operation, still has primary spots for at least five races to sell on McMurray’s No. 1 car this year. It was the only team to land a new, multirace, primary sponsor this year when it signed a new agreement with Cessna before the start of the season.

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