Indy Racing League near big sponsorship deal

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On the heels of signing Cafes do Brasil and Sunoco Inc. to sponsorship deals, Indy Racing League officials say they plan to make their biggest sponsor announcement of 2010 within two weeks.

“It will be a category-exclusive deal with mega activation,” said Terry Angstadt, president of IRL’s commercial division. “It will rival the [promotion] done by our series title sponsor, Izod. So it’s very exciting.”

Angstadt said he couldn’t say what category the new sponsor will fill because “that would give away who it is.” He expects the as-yet-announced sponsor to be at full speed with the open-wheel race series for the 2011 season.

Rivaling the marketing muscle of Izod would be impressive, sports marketers said.

“Izod has been extremely active in taking the IndyCar brand to the mainstream public,” said Zak Brown, president of Just Marketing International, a Zionsville-based motorsports marketing consultancy. “They’ve put millions of dollars into marketing IndyCar, which is just what the series needs.”

Izod has been active with billboards, television and print advertising as well as point-of-sale promotions at retail stores across the country and at IRL races since being named the open-wheel series title sponsor in 2009.

“I’ve not heard anything about an impending deal myself, but if it's on par with Izod, that’s certainly good news, especially in this economic environment,” Brown said.

Cafes do Brasil, a Brazilian coffee maker, signed on recently as the title sponsor of the series’ Oct. 2 season-ending race in Miami.

Financial terms of the Cafes do Brasil deal were not released, but sources close to the league said it is a one-year agreement worth about $500,000. Angstadt is hopeful the relationship will expand next year.

“This is the last year for the race in Miami, so obviously they won’t be involved there, but we think they’ll be involved in other ways,” Angstadt said. “They’ve been very aggressive in marketing and activating their sponsorship in Miami.”

As part of the deal, the IRL has named its season-ending race the Cafes do Brasil 300. The Brazilian company will also get signage and a race-day hospitality package, which includes 2,500 grandstand tickets. The sponsorship is one of the first significant partnerships signed by Cafes do Brasil as it looks to raise its profile in the U.S., company officials said.

The deal is an is an outgrowth of the series’ deal with Apex-Brasil, an agency funded by the Brazilian government that represents 72 business sectors, including Brazil’s ethanol producers and coffee manufacturers.

As U.S. corporations continue to hold the line on marketing budgets, the IRL may continue to look outside the country for sponsors. NASCAR has fewer such options, Angstadt said.

“It’s a huge advantage we have over our friends to the south,” Angstadt said. “While we’re based here in the U.S. and our crown jewel race is in Indianapolis, with our international reach and our international base of drivers, that’s a good competitive advantage we have.”

Earlier this season, Sunoco signed a multi-year partnership to be the official fuel retailer and convenience store of the IRL, and its feeder series, Firestone Indy Lights.

Through its ethanol manufacturing facility in Fulton, N.Y., Sunoco will supply 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol to the series beginning in 2011 in partnership with UNICA, the Brazilian sugarcane industry association.


  • rating are awful does matter
    rating are so bad last year its easy to improve rating increase was a joke
  • night race croud are down chicagoland nascar indycar
    indylights race at miami were bigger croud than last year race that wierd because indycar series race was way down from last year probly one of worst croud there
  • And TOney used his sisters' money to pay for it
    a handfull of people showed up for the season ending, champeenship deciding race and a .2 something TV rating. Activate that Terry.
  • Reality
    There was no increase in fans. Comcast got reVersus blocked on DirecTV last year and that is where the faux increase came from.
  • Brazil
    If I recall, Brazil was the race that contributed much to that 16% increase. The rest were 0.14 - 0.36 ratings stuff.

    I also wonder if the NHL being back on for the end of their season didn't give the unnatural ratings boost to the hapless IRL. Either way, I agree Burl, 0.24's aren't going to get it done.
  • Positive TV news
    That is good news, up 16 percent on Versus. Probably a reflection of the hardcores doing what it took to get whatever cable package was needed to tune in over what they had in 2009. At least the Izod Car Series Indy Thing League deal has some good news. Sadly, sponsors aren't buying into it. And the whole thing is off-set by God Knows What percentage decline in seat buttage. So it is a zero sum end game, especially when you see the likes of 7-11 and Izod, itself, no less, saying see ya', wouldn't want to be ya'. It also should be noted the IzodCar boys are quick to release info on a 16 percent increase in overall viewership, but it is next to impossible for them to divulge race by race ratings. Understood when you consider the helmsmen over there and their red-face embarrasment at real zenith numbers like .14, .18, .24 and the like. Anyhow, come on, Talkin' Terry, your turn now...let's break down those key metrics.
  • 16% Versus IRL ratings INCREASE
    SpoertsBusinessDaily has revealed the IRL got 16% better TV ratings on Versus over its 2009 ratings, but still greater than 50% off ESPN/ESPN2 IRL ratings from 2008.

  • Word out of Indy Today
    Sponsorship COWS BEING SLAIN!!!

    IZOD will NOT sponsor Ryan Hunter REAy in 2011. OUCH, that lack-of-activation leaves the face of IZODCar looking for a ride and Andretti Autosport with 2 cars with the loss of 7-11 as well!

    What happened? We were all told by Defender and Iman that major activations will be occurring....

    Maybe they saw the dozens of folks in attendance at Homestead, Kansas, Watkins Glen, Chicagoland (and just about everywhere else the IRL raced(s) and said what ISC has been saying...WHY BOTHER sponsoring the IRL? It's a money pit.

    Anthony, what are the 2010 TV ratings looking like OVERALL? We know Indy was lowest in history. THanks in advance.

    Randy...ya should have apologized...FINAL GRADE F- .
  • Miami Street Race
    Ropin' has a great idea! Let's raise the sanction fee 30 percent for an oval event, get shown the door, then work on a street race in Miami, while simultaneously working on attracting USAC and otehr short track American throttle gunners at Salem and Knoxville. I think Ropin' needs to run down to Tulsa this Winter and sell the idea of a left-right-left, K-rail bangin', manhole cover bouncin', side street slingin', 90 mile per hour Grand Prix of Miami to the Chili Bowlers. That'll save the IZODCAR League Series thing whatever Indy League deal.
  • Much ado about nothing
    Another money losing season ends quietely in front of hundreds of spectators for the hapless imSracing league, whose track partners make more money by not letting the league show up. This was truely a grate brakeout year.
  • Big Sponsorship NEWS
    7-11 OUT as Andretti sponsor. Kanaan "free" to look elsewhere as a driver.

    This must be the big announcement....
  • It's all brazil thesedays
    carl, US ethanol? The industry collapsed two years ago. Sunoco is just a mask on the face of the Brazillian ethanol industry. All slight of hand by the IRL....just like all the smoke and mirrors surrounding Dana's ethanol sponsorship and the "faux" US ethanol used at the Iowa Indy Cornfest 200. Bait and Switch....
  • ethanol
    I will look forward to see if it runs on US ethanol. Not that we should be supporting our farmers who make ethanol. I wonder how green it is to ship it all up here from another country? Its kinda like everyone telling us to go green, yet there are a thousand ships in the ocean everyday coming from China to fill our shelves.
  • 2012 Engine
    Yup...the IRL engines deadline missed. Randy skeptical about whether there'll be anyone BUT Honda. Mid-November date now....

    Cotman hasnt even delivered the engine spec to the manufacturers yet.

    Looking good IMS! Defender GUARANTEES a 2011 Indy sellout. Hopefully that means IMS will sell....out.
    • Real Racing Fans Enjoy Diversity.....
      ...as long as it's run by the gang that couldn't shoot straight, The Hulman-George's.
    • Sold out?
      Hahaha...sold out. That's wonderful. I'm a huge F1 supporter, but you're smoking something good & I want some. Let's put on the IndyCar hater hat for a minute & try and use the same logic towards F1.

      Barnfart rule enforcement & changes
      FIA-F1 rule disputes, enforcement, etc.
      WINNER: FIA-F1 rule disputes & changes put every motorsport combined to shame. It's laughable. Granted, technological freedoms cause this to a large degree, but laughable either way.

      Track/Community extortion:

      WINNER: F1!!! ICS has done its share of swindling on the basis of economic impact promises, but they don't even hold a candle to Bernie's extortion ring. I think the Aussie's are losing enough money on the event to fund the ICS for a full season...hah. Awesome to have 100,000+ at the event, but it lost more than $40 million in ONE RACE weekend. So, to use the ICS logic, who cares how many people showed up & increased attendance if you're just giving it away!!! more to compare later....I have to get home on time this evening...
    • Real Racing Fans Enjoy Diversity
      'While you chimps are bickering over the hapless irl and nascars, there is real racing happening in F1. The Singapore race was full of racing drama, a title chase, excellent driving and 24 skilled pilots pushing the limits of man and machine in the most cutting edge cars found on earth today. Manufacturers involvement, rich sponsorship, a worldwide television audience and sold out events. Way to go IRL and TonyGeorge. More fail for 16th and Jonestown. Thanks Mari, thanks Tony, thanks Gomers. What could have been.'

      'Hapless.' Where did you learn that word? LOL. I enjoy every Formula 1 race and appreciate its niche. I also enjoy the IZOD IndyCar Series, NASCAR and countless other smaller series. I appreciate the diversity. Praising one while knocking another shows very little class and sportsmanship and a high degree of immaturity. It gets particularly vile when making comparisons of the location of one series with an infamous mass suicide/murder in Africa. When will such children ever grow up?
    • Your Strategy?
      If Indycar is such a non-factor, then why waste your time commenting on an article that you believe carries no importance? We know the history regarding Tony George, the split, the lack of American drivers, the lack of competing manufacturers, and even the miserable TV ratings. We ALSO know that Tony George is gone, the series is one, Bernard has at least addressed the desire for US drivers, Lotus is on for 2012, and this article is hinting at another major sponsor. What might you do differently to turn this ship around?
    • Real racing
      While you chimps are bickering over the hapless irl and nascars, there is real racing happening in F1. The Singapore race was full of racing drama, a title chase, excellent driving and 24 skilled pilots pushing the limits of man and machine in the most cutting edge cars found on earth today. Manufacturers involvement, rich sponsorship, a worldwide television audience and sold out events. Way to go IRL and TonyGeorge. More fail for 16th and Jonestown. Thanks Mari, thanks Tony, thanks Gomers. What could have been.

      • terry angstadt bikeman
        worst thing to happen to american open wheel since cart
      • I'm OK With What Haters Refer to As 'Damage.'
        ....and I have no worries about the future viability of the IZOD IndyCar Series. You can either grow up and become a fan, or go find something else to enjoy.

        Anthony, are you aware the official name of the IZOD IndyCar Series is 'IZOD IndyCar Series?' The moniker 'Indy Racing League' and the acronym 'IRL' have officially been retired and are no longer being used. When will the Indiana Business Journal begin using the official, correct, accepted name?
      • Dude, you had FIFTEEN YEARS
        IRL (Indy Car) gets 0.14 - 0.30 TV Ratings on VersUS.

        2010 Lowest Indy 500 TV ratings in history.

        YOU had 15 years to get it right....yet here we are today scratching for sponsors and any bucks someone can muster.

        WHERE's THE BEEF, Defender? Where's the adoring MASSES, where's the HUGE TV ratings? Where's the new OVAL generations and all the STARZS that Indy could generate? There is nothing and nobody to assume those claims.

        ZILTCH. NADDA. NOTHING. It's a wasteland now...all because of the IRL.

        So, good for the Indy Car series. But let's not fool ourselves into some false sense of security here. The damage is DONE. And only the Speedway is responsible for it now.
        • So, When Will Your Interests Take You Elsewhere?
          How can it possibly die if it has so many who are obsessed with it and continually offer commentary, albeit childish and hostile?
        • Mike's a gas
          Of course, NASCAR machines are irrelevant. And I am no NASCAR fan either. But truth is, all racing is irrelvant and wasteful. Indy Cars have no relevance. Oh wait, they run on corn. Big whoop. They have no relevance because today's younger generations think car racing is just plain dumb. And it is. Go watch the fast cars drive round and round and round and round with the other old people, Mike. All what? 200,000 of them in the entire Unites States who are left. And I am not even sure of that number. A potential associate sponsor/partner at my friend's company (the one that turned down a sponosrship ooportunity in the IRL) told him the "hard number" appeared to be around 50,000. The rest are one or two race a season interlopers and that didn't pencil for ROI. I believe it. I'll bet a grand total of 100,000 people in the USA (those in attendance and the ones at home) see the race at Homstead. Maybe 150,000. It is the bad Mike, Defender, Indyman. It just comes down to NOBODY cares and car racing is a thing of the past. The sport is dying. It is over soon.
        • Great News!!
          Burl Hatterley, if this bit of good news bothers you, you can simply ignore it. No need to be cathartic with this cyber angst.

          You mentioned 'thing of past'. That would be the powerplants being used in NASCAR and they have no place of relevance in the R&D for today's and tomorrow's vehicles.

          Great news for IndyCar and for those of us that like to watch fast cars.
        • Great Entertainment: Obsessed Haters Hating
          They all come out to cackle when the good news gets published. Congratulations to Indy Car for lining up three more paying customers.

          It does not appear anywhere close to dead to me.

          When will the haters finally begin to spontaneously combust give all their youthful angst?
        • Burl's the name, IZODCAR ain't my game
          Burl is my real name and NASCAR ain't my game. Burleson King Hatterley, born and raised in Paducah, Kentucky, now of Indianapolis, Indiana, home of the dying IZOD CAR Series. This sport is soon a thing of the past. IZODCAR registers nearly a Zero in TV ratings. Word out of Indy was Japan scored a .20. MMMMhhmmmmm. Ain't nobody but gomertons and Trackforum PT slobberjockeys care a give.
        • Zzzzzz
          Yes Anthony, great job.

          The CafeAs Du Braislia 300...$500,000 huh? Not much left for the IRL bigwigs after you giveaway 2,500 tickets, pay hospitality for several hundred of them.

          I agree that this is good...but it would appear Terry is giving stuff away just to have a title sponsor for the race.

          Da Hooey had it right....IRL: overpromise, under deliver.
        • Good job Anthony, just when the haters thought they had nailed their guesses of IRL failure in 2011 or 20112 (take your pick), here comes more good news that forces them to consider they may have the IRL to kick around for another few years.

          This should continue to lather them up into a frenzy of who ever heard of (insert "sponsor to be named" here). Just like all those who had never heard of Izod or still thought it was the maker of their 80's popped collar polos.

          We will hear them whine and cry all off season, and Anthony it is your fault. Thanks.

          On point, good to see more sponsors taking advantage of the IRL's value. I remember the haters ripping the IRL for foriegn Ethanol, so this should give them fits since it is now an American Distributor providing it. Expect to see a lot of Brazillian Ethanol at American pumps since they can make it from sugar cane much cheaper than we can from corn.

          As far as Brazilian Coffee, who had ever heard of Columbian Coffee until Juan Valdez appeared on their tv screen? The IRL has a good friend in the Brazilian government and with their booming economy and up coming Olympics, expect that friendship to be good.

          Anyone ready to move their predictions of IRL failure to 2015 or beyond?
        • Great News
          First of all this is great news for Indycar. If it is Verizon they could team up to do a lot of promos and interactive marketing to draw the younger crowd into the sport. I am a Verizon customer and if they could do something similar to what the NFL has done with Verizon it would be very strong for the league. On a side note, in response to "Burl" (if that is your real name) I am going to go out on a limb and say youâ??re a NECKCAR fan. While I will admit that the IndyCar series isn't what it once was, all things are cyclical and soon your form of "race car driving" (term used very loosely) will soon go back where it belongs. Technology rules and the crash up derby cars will soon take their rightful place back into irrelevancy.
        • Change on the Verizon?
          Will it be The Verizon Wireless Motor Speedway? The Verizon Wireless Pagoda Logo? The Verizon Wireless Yard O'Bricks? SAFER Barriers brought to you by Verizon Wireless?

          The possibilities for activation are endless, especially for things that will show up in the Sprint Cup broadcast of the Brickyard 400.
        • The Einstein's STILL don't get it.
          "Acitivation", "category exclusive", "the brand"...the Cafes do Brazil Indy or Cafes do Brazil 300 or whatever...NOBODY in America identifies with this sort of thing! Use your head! Cafes do Brazil 300 sounds like some sort of latte. Coupled with Name drivers like Rafa Matos, Viotr Meira, Betrand Baguette, and Simona de Silvestro, it is no small wonder no matter what Talkin' Terry and Ropin' Randall do, there is nothing, NOTHING, that can save this horribly irrelevant, virtually unknown, practically non-existent, almost toally ignored sport that is on par with the WNBA and Collegiate softball for a space an the American sports turf. It is just a horrible product of complete and utter irrelevance. Mari, please, for the grandkids, fire Talkin' Terry, send Randy back to the bullpen, and shut this dog down.
        • This one is obvious
          If anyone has been paying attention to what is happening in Nascar right now, it should be obvious who this new sponsor is going to be. Tim Cindric has been saying for weeks now that this company wants to increase its level of sponsorship in the IndyCar series due to the restrictions put on them by the "Sprint" sponsorship of Nascar. Anxious for the actual announcement though!

          Oh, and its not the IRL anymore...its IndyCar.
        • Indy Racing League?
          I thought there was a memo to no longer use IRL, but to refer to the product as IndyCar?

          Any chance the sponsor is....say....Verizon???
        • oh brother
          not this again.

          The IRL: over promise, under deliver

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        1. Thank you to the scientists who care enough to find a cure. We are so lucky that their intelligence has brought them to these understandings because it is through these understandings that we have new hope. Certainly the medicine will be expensive, these drugs usually are, especially the ones that are not mass produced. If I know anything from the walks that my town has put on for FA it is this: people care and people want to help. Donations and financial support can and will come to those who need it. All we need is a cure, the money will come. I mean, look at what these scientists have done thanks to the generosity of donors. 30 million dollars brings us here where we can talk about a drug's existence! There is so much to be frustrated about in this world, but this scientific break is not one of them. I am so happy for this new found hope. Thank you so much to the scientists who have been slaving away to help my friends with FA. We wish you speedy success in the time to come!

        2. I love tiny neighborhood bars-- when I travel city to city for work, it's my preference to find them. However, too many still having smoking inside. So I'm limited to bars in the cities that have smoking bans. I travel to Kokomo often, and I can promise, I'll be one of those people who visit the ma and pa bars once they're smoke free!

        3. I believe the issue with keystone & 96th was due to running out of funds though there were other factors. I just hope that a similar situation does not befall ST RD 37 where only half of the overhaul gets built.

        4. It's so great to see a country founded on freedom uphold the freedom for all people to work and patronize a public venue without risking their health! People do not go to bars to smoke, they can take it outside.

        5. So, Hurko, mass transit has not proven itself in Indy so we should build incredibly expensive train lines? How would that fix the lack of demand? And as far as those double decker buses to bus people in from suburbs, we can't fill up a regular sized buses now and have had to cancel lines and greatly subsidize others. No need for double decker buses there.