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Volume 24 No. 112
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Toyota Becomes First Founding Sponsor At Renovated Daytona Int'l Speedway

Toyota has signed on to become the first of four founding sponsors at the renovated Daytona Int'l Speedway. The 11-year deal gives Toyota naming rights for one of five entrances to the venue and extends its sponsorship of seven other ISC tracks. Sources valued the deal at $6-7M a year. The sponsorship begins next year, a year before DIS' $400M renovation is completed. When the renovation is done, Toyota will have video signage on the exterior of its entrance and Toyota branding and cars inside the 20,000-square-foot entry space. Toyota VP/Marketing Communications & Motorsports Ed Laukes said, “People don’t know the heart and soul of the Toyota brand. We’re a little bit of a mystery compared to the Detroit guys. This will give us a chance to showcase different elements of the brand and our ongoing commitment of NASCAR. You get dividends from that relative to the fanbase, which is very loyal to those brands.” Laukes added that DIS' plans to host college football games, soccer and other events were a major draw for Toyota. He said, “We have a property at LA Live and it gives you a chance to showcase your brand in a way that fans get to interact with it in different ways. We thought the injector did the same thing.”

TOYOTA HOPES FOR VOICE IN DESIGN: Daytona and ISC staff first pitched Toyota in November '12, and following subsequent meetings, they worked on design and displays that could be inside the entrance space. DIS President Joie Chitwood III said, “From day one, Toyota latched on to the vision. This caught their attention. They wanted to talk about it and see the creative. For them, it’s about engagement of their customer.” Laukes said that part of the reason Toyota cut the deal so early was to give it a voice in the design of the entryway. It discovered the advantages of that after signing a naming-rights deal in Houston for Toyota Center. It was able to work with the architect to leave space for a Toyota Tundra inside the venue and brand the area around the truck the “Tundra Zone.” Laukes: “That’s why it was important to get in early.” In addition to branding one of the renovated speedway’s entrances, Toyota will have naming rights in one of 11 concession and gathering areas that Daytona is calling “neighborhoods.” It will have signage throughout that space, which is the size of a football field. Laukes said Toyota wants to deliver fan enhancements in the space. He pointed to providing phone-charging lockers as an example. Laukes said, “It’s not only going to be signage and names of restaurants and areas but it’s going to be about bringing elements of Toyota into the fan experience. That’s what we’re working through now.” He said the company hopes to have its designs completed by the summer.

: Chitwood said DIS and ISC are in active discussions with other potential founding partners and hopes to announce more later this year. Chitwood added, “A couple are more significant than others in terms of the cycle. With a couple of potential partners, we’re talking creative schematic and design and with others we’re talking about the scope of it. I feel good that we’ll have more announcements in the future.” Daytona officials were asking $2-3M a year for the sponsorships and wanted 10-year commitments. Toyota paid more because its deal included other ISC tracks and title sponsorship of the fall NASCAR races at Richmond Int'l Raceway. Toyota announced its deal Thursday at the Chicago Auto Show, the same place the company announced plans to enter NASCAR in '03.