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Izod dropping IndyCar Series sponsorship

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The apparel brand Izod is dropping its partnership with the IndyCar Series after the conclusion of the 2013 season, leaving the open-wheel racing series without a title sponsor.

IndyCar announced the decision in a statement Friday afternoon. The move does not come as a surprise to series officials, who have been pitching potential replacement sponsors since last summer.

"We are proud of our partnership with Izod over the past six years," Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles said in a statement. "But circumstances change, and now we're seeking new partnerships with brands looking to align with the fastest, most versatile form of racing."

The six-year, $60-million title sponsorship deal with Izod was supposed to stretch through the 2014 season. But, as IBJ reported in July, many expected Izod to attempt to end the agreement early.

Terms of the separation were not disclosed.

"As we and our retail partners shift the Izod brand's product focus, we need to shift our marketing spend to complement it," said Mike Kelly, an executive vice president for Izod parent Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., in a statement. "We would like to thank the IndyCar community ... for their partnership."

A management change at Izod's parent company prompted the change: In 2012, Michael Shaffer replaced IndyCar supporter Allen Sirkin as chief operating officer at PVH, and ordered a pullback in promotions related to the title sponsorship.

Last year, PVH pulled the plug on most of its IndyCar Series-related TV ads and other promotions, including its Indy 500 kick-off party Izod hosted with GQ magazine in 2010 and Spin magazine in 2011.

The quest to replace Izod as title sponsor was dealt a blow in June when the series' point man in negotiating such deals, Greg Gruning, resigned.

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  • Whacko Conspiracy Theories
    They forked over the millions, per the agreement. The pre-existing out clause they exercised due to PVH management changes resulted in additional millions. The world is not coming to an end (well not for another 20 billion years or so) and the sun will rise tomorrow. Next.
  • they pulled out a year early
    Yep...they pulled out. One can only assume there's less ROI that originally claimed by IZOD. What is to be discussed is why they think they don't want their brand associated with the ugly Indycar series. In fact, they've been reluctant to support it for almost 24 months now. Which means, somebody wasn't fulfilling their obligations. Ahhem...that would be the IRLcar. Geez, why is that? Well, first off the 0.18 TV ratings. No exposure for the Indycarz. What's to discuss? Yep, the Indycars are locked into that contract until the next decade. IZOD said enough of invisibility and wasted money...just like all sponsors eventually do in the IRL series. Last month the Dipsicle said PVH was very happy to fork over the millions to the IRL. Whoooops, what happened?
  • Thanks to IZOD for a Great Run
    What is there to discuss? IZOD signed an agreement, fulfilled the terms of the agreement, then new folks at the top of PVH changed their marketing strategy. This is not an unprecedented occurrence in the relatively transient world of sports marketing. The obsessed, of course, tend to view this in apocalyptic terms. Clearly they are as delusional as ever. Let's see who steps up now.
  • Someone is missing?
    I'm sorta sad, I was hoping to get disciple's take on this. He's the expert insider isn't he?
  • Racing to Change
    Sorry to see IZOD go. Put some money into a real marketing and advertising campaign. Indy needs a great announcer - a Joe Buck to convey the excitement of racing. He can learn Indy cars; bring him to the track. Let's see. Can't get the stands filled for the greatest race in the world, so add another race in May. My hub and I love vintage cars shows and barely knew about the classic car show and Corvettes at the Speedway opening day 2013. I watch the local news, read the Star, and read IBJ online. There is not enough publicity. I don't think Mark Miles is a good fit for the Speedway.
  • BREAKING NEWS
    BREAKING NEWS: In other Breaking News from the wire: The sky is blue, Obama is a horrible president, and Andrew Luck is now the Colts QB.
  • Hey Greg come back
    I hear everyone of the Fortune 500 companies is fighting like IRL fans, tooth and nails, to be the replacement.
  • 25/8
    I thought Izod would "fulfill their contractual agreement". LOL. I guess not.
  • Why have a league?
    There is only one precious. Very few people care about it anymore. But all drivers, owners, and sponsors would rather win it than the irl championship. The F1 championship is more important than winning Monanco. The Nascar championship is more important than winning the Daytona 500. The irl gets the same ratings as Nascar's third tier truck series. The irl died once. Let it die twice, and just run your rectangle in May.
  • Hah, told you!
    I have an idea. Why not just fleece the taxpayers for another billion or two. Lord knows, they're stupid enough to go along. Indianapolis. Going around in circles. In front of mostly empty stands. We are a national laughingstock. Cricket, anyone?
  • Ahhahhahhaha, Disciple and Indyman
    More shattered dreams for you, more predictions come true for the "haters". Mark Miles has this thing on rails. Nad now with Doug "Save our Track" boils running things at the speedway. Like a train headed off a bridge that was never completed, right into the canyon below. Pfffft, 350% and a lawsuit. I reckon PVH is happy now, huh DefenDer? Bwahahhahhahahaha! I luv this....the wheels are a comin' off! This is the gratest month since the 8 days of May. WooT! What happened...BWAHAHHAHHAHHAHA!
  • no suprise
    This should come as no surprise to anyone. When you get lower ratings than an infomercial for zit cream it's pretty hard to keep sponsors

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