Florida marketing firm suing IRL over Izod contract

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A Florida-based sports marketing firm that claims it is owed millions of dollars in commissions for landing Izod as the Indy Racing League’s title sponsor is suing the series.

Boca Raton-based CV Sports Marketing Inc. filed suit Thursday in Marion Superior Court, claiming breach of contract, unjust enrichment and defamation, as well as other charges.

The firm alleges that it is entitled to 10 percent of the revenue generated from the sponsorship agreement—fees that could be as high as $10 million based on CV Sports Marketing's estimate that the Izod deal is worth up to $100 million.

The lawsuit also names IRL affiliate Indianapolis Motor Speedway as a defendant.

“Rather than pay the amounts due and owing, defendants have utilized their position of power in their market to engage in a concerted effort to defame CV Sports and to interfere with its contractual and business relationships,” the complaint said.

The IRL, now known as IndyCar, issued the following statement Monday in response to IBJ inquiries: "We [had] heard these allegations before the filing of this lawsuit and denied them as being without merit.  This filing does not improve their merits.  With these allegations now in litigation, it is appropriate for us to refrain from further comment at this time."

CV Sports, which also has clients in the National Football League and National Basketball Association, began representing IndyCar drivers in 2001.

Aware of that expertise, Speedway and IRL executives who were seeking a sponsor specifically from the apparel industry entered into an agreement in 2008 with the firm to pursue marketing opportunities, the lawsuit said.

New York-based Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., whose brands include Van Heusen, Bass, Geoffrey Beene and Izod, became interested and signed a letter of intent on May 20, 2008.

The initial sponsorship agreement called for Phillips-Van Heusen to make cash payments to the racing series of $250,000 in 2008, $300,000 in 2009, $350,000 in 2010, and $400,000 in 2011, according to the suit.

The series paid CV Sports its 10-percent commission, or $25,000, from 2008 to 2010, but has not paid the amount due in 2011, the firm alleges.

Further, and more important to the suit, Phillips-Van Heusen expanded its sponsorship agreement in November 2009 to become a title sponsor of the series. The Speedway and IRL have refused to disclose the value of that deal, the complaint said.

The lawsuit maintains, though, that industry insiders estimate the deal to be worth about $15 million annually over the contract, which runs for six years and has an additional two-year renewal option.

The firm alleges that the Speedway and IRL began a concerted effort to defame CV Sports executive Howard Jaffe and the company to avoid paying the commissions.

In January 2010, Jaffe and CV Sports began to notice a change in their relationship with Phillips-Van Heusen, according to the lawsuit.

“Simply stated, PVH employees and representatives now effectively refuse to meet or do business with Mr. Jaffe,” the suit said. “This change resulted from conduct by IMS and IRL which included defamatory statements and interference with the PVH relationship.”

Specifically, CV Sports alleges that IMS and IRL executives have called the firm “untrustworthy” and have told some in the racing industry that its employees have been “kicked out of every garage on the circuit.”

CV Sports also contends that it lost at least two related deals with the AJ Foyt and Andretti motorsports teams that could have brought hundreds of thousands of dollars in commissions as a result of false statements made by the series.

The company is seeking unspecified damages and has requested a jury trial. It is represented by local attorney Robert MacGill at Barnes & Thornburg LLP.


  • Chief c^rtroach
    how's you're beloved and made up history of "champ car" doing these days chief? we all know "champ car" is a USAC term palgerized buy the c^rt roaches, everybosy knows how fammously USAC & c^rt got along...keep on living in the past LOSER...I'll enjoy INDYCar...
  • I want IMS held responsible
    The powerplay THEY launched in 1996 brought scorn upon AOW racing and it damaged the legacy and heritage of the INDY 500. They haven't fessed up to the responsibility yet.

    Instead, they quietly rebuild like nothing ever happened. Well, something happened. The fans remember and they (the speedway) know full well why.

    BTW, where is the new chassis? Anyone seen any built? Is there really gonna be one?
  • Why Would You Spend So Much Time Paying Attention Then?
    See? It is obvious you don't understand the first thing about the race. Yet you remain obsessed. Interesting.
  • Nah, just another boring IRL 500
    2012, let's hope it arrives to change out the boring IRL crap, and start a new chapter in the life of the Speedway. Years 1996 - 2011 will be just a boring footnote. "The IRL: Worst Series EVER".
    • Wow. I Really Do Have To Slow Down Even More
      100th Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500. The race that facilitated an entire sport.

      Actual racing enthusiasts understand the significance without asking pointless repetitive questions.
    • Where is it written
      Why is this the most important race in history?
    • Let's Take It Down Several Notches
      May, 1911. May, 2011. 100 years. 100th anniversary. I'm going pretty slowly. Let me know if I need to slow it down some more. In another 5 years we can celebrate the 100th running. See the distinction? Please let me know if I need to explain this in even more basic terms.

      If you were as astute a historian as you claim, there would be no reason for me to have to explain the importance of the Indianapolis 500.
    • You are wrong
      It's the 100th anniversary of the 1st Indy 500...this is only the 95th running the 500 race. You are misleading the public.

      Templating the the entire sport? How so? Please provide details as I am a historian of the sport.
      • Some Need To Read Facts Multiple Times Before They Get Absorbed
        Massive activation is an ongoing phenomenon. Sponsorship announcements occur with startling regularity these days.

        'The Most Important race In History' is the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 29, 2011, the race that has templated the entire sport. This is something those with even a rudimentary understanding of the race already know.

        Just admit you are an obsessed fan and enjoy it.
      • Massive Activation...Did I Miss It?
        In 2 weeks, (4 months ago) there was going to be a MASSIVE ACTIVATION. What happened?

        Anthony, you mentioned something about it weeks ago...but nothing since. Any word?

        Hey, DIsciple...what makes the 2011 Indy 500 the "Most Important Race in History"? Please provide details so I can help with the promotion of this apparent must see event.
        • So why
          Why is it so important?
        • Trying to Reach The Brain of Chief Is Akin toTrying to Poke a Hole in a Lead Wall With a Toothpick
          "Who do you think you are to demand such info? God?"

          No. Just a Disciple. Who are you to claim a loss of $745 million? Do you understand that is nearly $50 million a season? How is that even possible? Anyone who is actually naive enough to believe that nonsense is more than lacking in the mental agility department.

          "The onus in upon YOU to disprove the claims, do it now!"

          I have. Many times before. I have laid it all out. Since you cannot accept that, just use common sense.

          "What does "The Most Important Race in History" mean?"

          The 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 29, 2011. Something any real race fan understands.

          "Has the Hollywood office produced any films or inroads yet?"


          "Where is the marketing effort by the speedway and it's partners promoting the 2011 season?"

          Out to lunch, as usual.

          "Supposed $80M in sponsor spend PLUS $12M from IZOD = $IzoDcar still not showing black on books. How come?"

          Randy is still investing in the series. It is working. No one really knows whether the ink is black or red. Certainly not mouth breathers on the Internet.

          "$765M and COUNTING!"

          Again, please give me the accounting. I am curious to know how you could lose $50 million every year and do it for 15 straight years.
        • LOL
          One picture of Hooter and Shamu has caused the media insider to delete all his posts at Smackforum, change his "handle" and pollute this blog? How quaint. Not quite a Nubian goddess, eh?
        • Who are you?
          Who do you think you are to demand such info? God? The onus in upon YOU to disprove the claims, do it now!

          What does "The Most Important Race in History" mean?

          Has the Hollywood office produced any films or inroads yet?

          Where is the marketing effort by the speedway and it's partners promoting the 2011 season?

          Supposed $80M in sponsor spend PLUS $12M from IZOD = $IzoDcar still not showing black on books. How come? $765M and COUNTING!
          • For The Umpteenth Time
            When will someone credible give me an accounting of revenue versus expenses since 1995? No one seems to have the brain power to pull that one off.
          • Not so fast, Despicable
            $100M is stretched out over each of the 8 years. That's IF they get past the 5 more years, to get to the 2 yr. extension.

            Safe bet would be $7 to $10m PER YEAR if IZOD doesn't execute the termination clause. They're still $15M in arrears WITH the IZOD $$. Next year with new cars...gonna cost $$$$. $750M and counting!
            • Thanks, IZOD.
              $100 million will go a long way to ensuring the future of INDYCAR.
            • Get a Life
              Burl, honestly I don't know why you continue to harp on the same message. We get it, you think racing is dead. Fine, thanks for the opinion( for the 50th time)
              There ya happy now go away, please.
              Go play with your Oklahoma Sooners dolls or something.
              • Lost in all of this...
                ...is the simple fact the sport is just not popular. Racing in general is on the outs. Doubt this? Look at how little attention was given to the Daytona 24 Hours event. In my local paper, it was not even mentioned until Monday, with a small, one paragraph in the miscellaneous section. The upcoming Daytona "500" has not gotten on iota of coverage yet. None. Indy? Please. The last article was a small paragraph on the Championship race at Homestead won by Will Power I think. Nobody, I mean, NOBODY cares anymore. Big time auto racing is done now. Back to second and third-tier status, boys. Low stuff. The Indy 500? The 100th anniversary event? Only about 300,000 Gomers care. Seriously. In a nation of over 300 million people. Small taters. Small, small taters. The sport is over as a serious deal.
              • What's next ?
                We will we next here that the new Indy car won't be made in the USA ?????
              • Shooting their mouths off
                I guess when you brag about 350% ROI you should keep your mouth shut. Too funny.
              • Know the source
                Before you condem the IRL you should dig into Howard Jaffe.....!!!!! Or better yet ask the Colts organization about Howard Jaffe.
              • Pretty Sweet Title Sponsorship
                $100 million, eh? That's a lot of moolah.
              • CV Sports Lawsuit
                Towards the end of the article, it sounds like they have lots of problems with how they are conducting and closing business.
                I am guessing that the relationship isn't what it used to be....
              • Lawsuit
                Woh,hoh, wonder who's been running thier mouth this time - perhaps Mr. Terry the Terrible Talker???

                We'll see......

              Post a comment to this story

              COMMENTS POLICY
              We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
              You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
              Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
              No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
              We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

              Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

              Sponsored by

              facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

              Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
              Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
              Subscribe to IBJ
              1. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

              2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

              3. I was just watching an AOW race from cleveland in 1997...in addition to the 65K for the race, there were more people in boats watching that race from the lake than were IndyCar fans watching the 2014 IndyCar season finale in the Fontana grandstands. Just sayin...That's some resurgence modern IndyCar has going. Almost profitable, nobody in the grandstands and TV ratings dropping 61% at some tracks in the series. Business model..."CRAZY" as said by a NASCAR track general manager. Yup, this thing is purring like a cat! Sponsors...send them your cash, pronto!!! LOL, not a chance.

              4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

              5. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............