Honda Unexpectedly Drops Title Sponsorship Of IndyCar Race In St. Petersburg
Honda last week "unexpectedly pulled out" as the title sponsor of the IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, a "stunning move that has race organizers scrambling for a new one just five months before the race," according to Danielle Paquette of the TAMPA BAY TIMES. The company had sponsored the race for nine years. Race President Tim Ramsberger on Friday said, "To say we're surprised is an understatement. It's a tough thing to experience but I don't think it'll damper the race. It won't affect us going forward." He said he "didn't know" why Honda backed out. Ramsberger said that the event is "now courting potential sponsors." But he declined to identify "several interested parties." Ramsberger said that the "value of the exposure for all sponsors" is $8-$10M from the ABC broadcast alone (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 10/19). In Toronto, Norris McDonald writes Honda's withdrawal "might have something to do with single races vis-a-vis doubleheaders." Honda Canada is "extremely pleased with the publicity it received from the two-race Honda Indy Toronto weekend held this season." St. Petersburg was reportedly "seeking a double-header weekend to kick off the 2014 season, something that won't be happening" (THESTAR.com, 10/21).