Danica victory puts IRL in high gear

April 21, 2008
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DanicashirtDanica Patrick’s life is getting faster by the second. She’s not the only one moving at warp speed, as merchandisers and Indy Racing League officials hustle to capitalize on her historic victory Saturday in Japan.

Since becoming the first woman ever to win an open-wheel race, Patrick has flown into California for a West Coast media blitz. She was mobbed by media at the Long Beach Grand Prix on Sunday and did interviews with Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, People Magazine and USA Today, among others. Today, she did a round of interviews for national morning news shows, and will do another round later this week.

She is at Honda’a California headquarters today rubbing elbows with the series’ biggest sponsors. She will be in New York likely Wednesday and Thursday for another media blitz orchestrated by IRL officials, before flying to Kansas for the next series race April 27.

“We’ve had a plan in place for her first victory, how to deal with it from a marketing and public relations standpoint, ever since she entered the league,” said Amy Konrath, IRL spokeswoman. “We have been working very closely with her representatives and her team, Andretti-Green Racing, to maximize the exposure from this.”

Patrick’s merchandise is selling fast. Officials for Indianapolis-based MainGate Inc., which has an exclusive deal to handle licensed products for the 26-year-old driver, already is seeing major sales increases in items bearing her image. MainGate, which also operates Patrick’s Web site, had a T-shirt designed for Patrick’s first victory and rolled it out for sale at 6 p.m. yesterday.

“DanicaRacingStore.com traffic has increased 550 percent since her victory, and sales are up 900 percent,” said David Moroknek, MainGate CEO.

Patrick’s merchandise has been growing at a triple-digit clip for the last three years, IRL officials said. She sells more merchandise than all other IRL drivers combined, but sports marketers said she still only sells about 40 percent of what NASCAR stars such as Jeff Gordon do. MainGate officials wouldn’t divulge annual sales for Patrick’s licensed goods, but other sports marketers estimated it near $100 million. MainGate plans to have a complete line of new products commemorating the victory for May in Indianapolis, where the company will operate three mobile trailers dedicated to Patrick.

“With this victory, we think annual sales of her products will double,” Moroknek said. “We’ve seen absolutely unprecedented demand for her autographed merchandise and we’re working on a line of that too.”
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  • You can bet the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will throw their marketing campaign for this year's Indianapolis 500 into overdrive, wrapping the Danica victory into the mix with the unification story. The timing of this couldn't be better. I wonder if this will help fuel the search for a title sponsor?
  • The big wheels should keep on turning with this one. I bet a title sponsorship announcement will be coming soon. Maybe not by May, but soon.

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  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?

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