NASCAR In Talks With Verizon About Re-Joining Sport As Sponsor
NASCAR has been in advanced discussions with Verizon over a new partnership, which could include tracks getting 5G technology upgrades. The sanctioning body in recent years has been trying to get a major telecom company to step into the category void left by Sprint after '16, and it held talks over the last year with Verizon about becoming a premier partner in its new sponsorship system. While Verizon was not unveiled as one of four premier partners last month, sources say that negotiations have continued about limited sponsorship by Verizon and NASCAR purchasing Verizon technology to upgrade its tracks' wireless capabilities. NASCAR owns 14 tracks. It was unclear how close the talks were to being finalized and exactly what assets Verizon would sponsor. Neither NASCAR nor Verizon commented. Speedway Motorsports, which owns eight tracks, already has a pre-existing business relationship with Verizon that does not involve sponsorship, and it is unclear to what extent, if any, it is involved in NASCAR's talks. Verizon works with CSM Sport & Entertainment on its motorsports marketing. The company has retained a presence in IndyCar with Team Penske after dropping its title sponsorship of the series following '18. Verizon exited NASCAR after the '10 season as part of the fallout that both it and AT&T went through as the sanctioning body worked to protect the exclusivity of Sprint, which was paying around $50M annually to title sponsor the Cup Series. At the time, Verizon was spending around $12-17M on its NASCAR presence. Verizon in September announced a deal to equip around a dozen NFL stadiums with its 5G Ultra Wideband technology.