Andretti Autosport announced that Hire Heroes USA, 7-Eleven, the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees and Dr Pepper Snapple Group have partnered to provide primary sponsorship backing for Mike Conway’s No. 27 ride at the Indianapolis 500. Hire Heroes USA offers transition support, job-search assistance and job-placement services to U.S. military veterans and their spouses to help reduce veteran unemployment. The deal is part of a bigger marketing initiative that includes an in-store component at participating 7-Eleven stores (Andretti Autosport).
OTHER INDY 500 SPONSOR NEWS: USA TODAY's Nate Ryan reports former F1 and NASCAR driver Scott Speed will drive for Dragon Racing "in the Indianapolis 500 and also in the Izod IndyCar Series finale in Las Vegas." Speed's Indy 500 attempt "would be sponsored by Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka, American Racing Wheels and Vizio" (USATODAY.com, 5/6)....Dale Coyne Racing has hired Alex Lloyd to drive the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America car in the Indianapolis 500 and the "other seven oval races" on the schedule this year (RACER.com, 5/5).
FREEDOM FLIERS: Delta Air Lines has signed on as the title sponsor of the annual MLB Civil Rights Game, beginning this year and running through the '12 contest. The deal includes brand exposure throughout all official MLB events leading up to the May 15 Delta Civil Rights Game between the Phillies and Braves in Atlanta. MLB will create a new composite logo incorporating the Delta logo and Civil Rights Game mark. Delta currently sponsors more MLB clubs than any other airline (Delta).
MAKING A STATEMENT: In Jacksonville, Garry Smits writes the PGA Tour “might never have been more fashion-conscious than today's era of clothes horses who have brought bright colors, micro-fibers and unconventional accessories to the fairways.” There is a “trickle-down effect on the buying that has created a bump in apparel sales.” TPC Sawgrass Merchandise Manager Chris Tully: "What the pros wear does have a big effect on what the public wants and what we buy. A lot of junior golfers look up to Rickie Fowler and Ian Poulter and want to dress like them. Bright colors are real big right now. Belt sales are good. Fashion in golf has really taken off in the last 10 years or so" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 5/6).
MONEY PLAYER: Associated Banc-Corp has signed an exclusive, multiyear partnership with Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers beginning this month will promote the Green Bay-based bank’s customer and community events, consumer and commercial product lines and service as well as select philanthropic initiatives (Associated Banc-Corp).