Izod Ends IndyCar Series Title Sponsorship One Year Early; Kanaan Out At KV Racing?
IndyCar on Friday announced that apparel brand Izod would end its title sponsorship of the series following this season. Izod joined IndyCar in '08 as its official apparel provider and became the series title sponsor in '10 (IndyCar). The INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL noted the move "does not come as a surprise to series officials, who have been pitching potential replacement sponsors since last summer." The six-year, $60M title sponsorship "was supposed to stretch through" the '14 season. Izod parent company Phillips-Van Heusen last year "pulled the plug on most of its IndyCar Series-related TV ads and other promotions, including an Indy 500 kick-off party." The quest to "replace Izod as title sponsor was dealt a blow in June when the series' point man in negotiating such deals," Exec VP/Corporate Business Development Greg Gruning, resigned (IBJ.com, 9/27).
MOVING ON? The AP's Jenna Fryer reported IndyCar driver Tony Kanaan "will not return to KV Racing next season and is finalizing a deal to join Chip Ganassi Racing." Kanaan repeatedly said that he "wanted to keep his core team at KV Racing together but expressed frustration with the economic hardships in IndyCar." KV Racing presented Kanaan "with a deal in which he did not have to bring any sponsorship money to the team -- Kanaan has had to bring money with him in the past and has long felt as a veteran that he should not have to -- but he rejected the offer." Despite winning the Indianapolis 500 in May, major corporate sponsorship "appeared to dry up" (AP, 9/27). KV Racing co-Owner Jimmy Vasser on Friday said, "We have an offer in front of him to return (to KV Racing). ... We're on the road to signing, and he doesn't have to bring any money. I'm proud of the offer." In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin noted Kanaan "confirmed KV's offer, but he said he doesn't have the official documents to sign." Kanaan said of Fryer's report of a deal with Ganassi, "I don't have a deal" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 9/28).