Andretti Sports Marketing Signs On For '13 Grand Prix Of Baltimore; Will Play Smaller Role
Andretti Sports Marketing will "play a smaller role in the 2013 Grand Prix of Baltimore, leaving much of the preparations for this year’s race to local organizers," according to Jack Lambert of the BALTIMORE BUSINESS JOURNAL. Andretti Tuesday night "signed a contract with Race On LLC, the local financiers of the Grand Prix," to return for the '13 Izod IndyCar Series event. Andretti Sports Marketing President John Lopes said that the Indianapolis-based Race On will "handle race-day operations and national sponsorship sales." Andretti also will "serve a consulting role with Race On." The new deal is a "change from 2012 when Andretti handled most organizational aspects of the race." Race On partner J.P. Grant said that he "has already brought on several local firms to assist with this year's event." Lambert noted CBS Baltimore will "return in a larger role to sell local sponsorships" for the '13 Grand Prix, while Baltimore-based Sandy Hillman Communications will "again handle public relations." Baltimore-based MissionTix "will sell tickets for the race." Grant said that Race On "wanted to make certain aspects of the race local in order [to] attract more Baltimore vendors and sponsors." Lopes said that some of the "major sponsors of last year’s Grand Prix, like DHL and Chrysler SRT, had one-year deals for the 2012 race." Andretti hopes to "bring those sponsors back for this year’s race." The event "remains without a title sponsor" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 12/5).
BACK HOME AGAIN? In Indianapolis, Zak Keefer reports NASCAR driver Tony Stewart "won't be taking Roger Penske up on his offer" to drive in next year's Indy 500. Stewart last night at the Int'l Motorsports Industry Show said, "I will never say never, but I will say that I'm not taking him up on the offer this year." Keefer notes after Penske offered the ride to Stewart last week, Indianapolis Motor Speedway President & CEO Jeff Belskus "offered to move up the start of the race one hour ... to allow Stewart more time" to race in both the Indy 500 and the Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 later that day (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 12/6). Stewart said, "As much as I would like to do it, we just don't have the time to do it proper" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 12/5). The INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL's Anthony Schoettle wrote under the header, "Pandering To NASCAR Hurts IndyCar's Brand." If the Indy 500 is "such a spectacle and the drivers in IndyCar so proficient ... why do series officials and IndyCar team owners continue to cast bait for NASCAR pilots and those involved in other two- and four-wheeled endeavors?" Stewart would draw a "few more eyeballs to the Indy telecast," and his presence "could even drive a short-term revenue bump." Schoettle: "But the message of such efforts is clear: We don't have the drivers to attract viewers on our own. The secondary message is that driving an IndyCar is so easy, a guy like Stewart or even someone who has never raced an open-wheeler can jump in and drive the thing at 220-plus mph" (IBJ.com, 12/5).