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IndyCar Series makes deal with popular Facebook game

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The IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway have signed a licensing deal with California-based Cie Games to have the open-wheel racing cars and drivers featured in the popular Facebook game “Car Town.”

Financial terms of the deal made earlier this month were not released, but the marketing bounce for the series could be substantial.

Car Town, launched in August 2010, attracts 8 million players, with 46 percent of its gamers playing at least once every three days, making it one of the most in-demand games available on Facebook, according to officials of the social network.

IndyCar Series officials said they were drawn to the deal with Cie Games and Facebook by the game’s growing following and demographics. Eighty percent of Car Town players are 35 or younger, according to Cie officials.

The deal could also lead the IndyCar Series to partnerships with Car Town’s growing list of sponsors, including Honda Motor Co. and State Farm Insurance Co., among others.

The licensing agreement gives the IndyCar Series its first gaming partner in more than three years, series officials said. It represents Cie Games' second major motorsports deal this year. It signed a deal with NASCAR in February.

The game gives players an opportunity to build garages and buy and race cars against other players.

Car Town this month started showcasing several IndyCar-branded features and drivers.

Car Town users can enter the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Gasoline Alley and garage area where they can select a car driven by IndyCar Series drivers and complete the Indy 500 Challenge with the help of a pit crew they select from among their Facebook friends or by spending in-game points. Players can also race against the clock and compete against other Car Town pit crews, striving to top the Indy Pit Stop Challenge leader board.

The game will feature the cars of 13 IndyCar drivers, including Danica Patrick, Dario Franchitti, Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal, and the 2011 Indianapolis 500 Event Car, which honors the 100th anniversary of the first Indianapolis 500.

“We’re only scratching the surface in terms of the ways the virtual world of social gaming can bring new experiences to players and new marketing opportunities to companies and brands across the spectrum,” said Cie Games Chief Creative Officer Dennis Suggs in a prepared statement. “We think the sky’s the limit in terms of the creative executions brands can deploy to break through to new audiences using social media and social games.”

Additional IndyCar features are scheduled for release throughout the 2011 Izod IndyCar Series season, Suggs said.

IndyCar officials said the Car Town deal marks the beginning in a new era of marketing for the series.

“Car Town is not the end of our push into gaming,” said Casey Kohler, IndyCar Series marketing director.

The game was attractive to the series’ marketing efforts, Kohler said, because it offers a cost-effective way to tap a fast-growing media vehicle with a built-in automotive fan base.

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  • Social media...a DANGEROUS match to play with
    Word out of Indy today: Facebook fans revolt to get DONALD TRUMP tossed out of pace car duties for Indy 500.

    Be very weary of this FACEBOOK social media stuff IMS. You have opened a can of worms that will be your un-doing. These blogs and forums were tough, but the Facebook word can spread like wildfire and then you have no eyeballs to watch anymore. And it can happen very quickly.

    So, keep treading water...the sharks come out after dark.
  • INDYCAR Owners REJECT Bodykits
    Word on the street is CART owners UNANIMOUSLY have voted down the BODY KITS for the 2012. Now what?

    Your public tax dollars at work....remember the bonds for the Dallara plant friends...

    It's gonna be all 10 year old chassis next year...mark my words. Bwahahahaha!

    CART owners OWN this series! Hahahhaha!
  • VerSusS? I hardly even knew ya!
    Holy Mackeral! The VerSUs website (used to promote the IRL) is GONE. NBC put it to it's death last evening.

    So, the curious cat went to the new and improved NBC site...looking IRL/Indycar coverage...AND WHAT DID HE SEE?

    Yup....one tiny link and a GIANT NASCAR photograph promoting the Richmond NASCAR race Saturday evening.

    I thought there was value in the Indycars? Why would NBC do this to Indy, the 'Most Important Race in History'? I believe the series is in a load of trouble....
  • Excellent point
    Your point Disciple/Defender? Are you saying CARTown is equal to or greater than a Super Bowl advertisement? Or advertising around the NCAA's? Or the Masters?

    Look, the INDyCarz are on the cheap bro...I don't even see Google Ad Sense ads promoting the "Most Important ZRace in History". Most not be so important....

    BTW, is this the super mega activation that was promised? Where's all the tie-in's you lied about? Do you want me to dig up your words about that too?
  • Now Isn't That Just Precious
    Out of one side of your typing hand you lament what you perceive as a lack of promotion by Indy Car, then out of the other side you decry promotion that is contemporary and targeted to a potential new group of fans.

    Thank goodness you remain so obsessed with every aspect of the series. Not only does it bode well for the future, you and your little friends are just the cutest little things.

    Art Linkletter (rest his soul) was right. Kids really do say the darndest things.
  • Ben Franklin was no dope
    O'l Benjamin is quoted as saying "it is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority". If IMS is authority and I am citizen, I must continue to question it's authority of the sport, which it has failed at for 16 years.

    Open your eyes friend, if it was all rosy sailing CARTown wouldn't be needed.
    • Sad
      I really have pity for people like Chief and others who resort to Anthony's articles to jump on their proverbial soap box and continue complaining... How many years have you guys been at it? And how many of your doom and gloom deadlines have come and gone with no real accountable results? Pretty sad, folks... Pretty sad.
    • Desperado
      Hahahaha, the Speedway Apologists are looking under every rock they can find to reveal a possible fanbase.

      the IRL exhausted traditional means for attracting fans, now they're gonna poison the watersf the social media network.

      One point that sails over all their heads...if the product didn't suck or was directly related to the IRL or the IMS, the fans would be there.

      Sucks to be them...but, I suspect this is better than MySpace, so roll with it. Hahhaha, jealous of "CARTown". Bwahhahhaha!
    • How Desperate Are Some of You Anyway?
      I see that jealous, obsessed delinquency threatens to overrun this comment section as well. The Indy Car Series continues to thank its most dedicated followers.
    • THe IRl
      Where else are you sure to get a negative 90% return on your investments.
    • Plus
      Consider this, too. Whatever little social media hay you make with Car Town is going to be...er...Trumped by the choice of pace car driver. Once the Car Town press release hits cool off, do a little Google test and see which is being discussed more, and more negatively.
    • Really?
      A Facebook game is "out in front of the trend"? I'll consider that dubious position while I and the rest of most Facebook users go unfriend some people who insist on posting Farmville and Mafia War invites...
    • +1!!!!!!!!!
      13 unrecognizable faces featured on Facebook! Perfect!
    • The Obsessed Get The Scoop Again
      Smart activation in social media is actually a very necessary approach these days. Indy Car is exploiting this niche commendably.

      Kudos to those out in front of the trend.

      I see the obsessed bitter children have already deposited additional waste material in this comment section as well.

      Indy Car thanks you for your rapt attention to every minute detail of their ongoing business operations.
    • Wow
      Way to reprint the press release, IBJ. Good stuff.
    • This is incredible
      Who would have thunk it, the panacea of AOW fanbases is on Facebook. The sport will be saved now...

      The concept of the Speedway spending less and getting more has sadly exercised it's hand again at being completely clueless about the marketing of the sport. The exploitation of social media to spread the IRL cancer will backfire.

      CART-own, fascinating...

    • More Good News
      Nothing but good news coming from this series as of late. Glad to see it. Randy Bernard has gone above and beyond.
    • Oh Boy
      Hello Shark, I'm going to jump over you, OK?

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