'09 title sponsor hopes evaporate

November 19, 2008
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irllogoEfforts to land an Indy Racing League title sponsor have turned to 2010. Just two months ago, IRL officials said a deal appeared imminent. In October, the economy stifled negotiations. Now, almost all hope is gone for landing a title sponsor any time in 2009.

“Unless a miracle falls out of the sky, I don’t think we’re going to sign a title sponsorship deal for 2009,” said Zak Brown, president of Just Marketing International, which was hired by the IRL to lead the title sponsor hunt. “We’re still hammering away at it. We’re not going to stop working just because of the economy. But marketers are being very cautious with their budgets.”

In early September, Brown promised to land an IRL title sponsor by Jan. 1, and said an eight-figure annual deal “was on the doorstep.”

“I’m just glad I didn’t make a promise to run naked down the home stretch at Indy if the deal didn’t come through,” Brown said.

Subway restaurants, Kodak, William Rast clothier and two technology companies comprised the short list, sources close to the negotiations told IBJ in September.

Brown said sponsorship efforts across all sports have become exceedingly difficult since the economy began to tank this fall. “We’re still making some deals, we just made one in NASCAR, but it’s tough,” Brown said.
  • Not surprising when you see NASCAR and its teams are cutting back.
  • Interesting that JMI is still selling NASCAR deals, but the well for IRL title sponsor prospects has run dry.
  • Danica's husband was pleased to learn she didn't want children, because he feels one immature, spoiled brat in the house is plenty.
  • If you can't get a title sponsor after 13 years of breakout seasons, an intelligent person would take a serious look at the product he is trying to sell. It's not the economy, stupid.
  • SS Dave,

    Check your facts. The IRL has had title sponsors in the past.
  • Did pepboys and Northern Light ever pay their bills in full?
  • For the record, IRL had a title deal with Pep Boys, then later had a title sponsor deal with the now defunct Internet search engine, Northern Light.
  • Indyman, you are dumb. Get off of your high Indy horse and come back to the real world.
  • Here's a little more on IRL's title sponsor history. In early 1998, IRL signed a five-year deal with Philadelphia-based Pep Boys. The deal ended in a legal dispute two years later with IRL claiming Pep Boys didn't promote the league as it said it would, among other complaints. So no, Pep Boys did not end up paying for the whole deal. Then in early 2000, IRL signed a five-year, $50 million deal with Cambridge, Mass.-based Northern Light. That deal ended in late 2001 when Northern Light ran into financial difficulty. The company later went out of business altogether. So, no, Norther Light didn't pay the entire bill either.
  • When you're using Pep Boys and Northern Light as examples of IRL marketing success, you're truly scraping the bottom of the barrel.

    Onion Gum, indeed.
  • AN all those years the IRl continues to shine. THe IRl dont need to title sponser. IT runs fine without one. JUst look. IT ranned CART and CHampCar out of busness without one. The IRl is allsome. ANd why is that? BEacuse its got INdy and you dont! hahahahah INDy pays the way baby. INDy INdy INDy LOng as the IRl gots INdy their will be a IRl. THink bout that.

    NExt week wehn TOney GOrge gots his sister at his house for THAnksgiving I bet they wont mention much the sposner deal. THose girls will gther round that turky and thank TOney for saving openwheel racing liek he did. I Hope they have a grate THAnksgiving.

    THe IRl now has more potental than any other series today. THAnsk to TOney. CARt never had so much potential as the IRl does. THAnks TOney. THAnks.
  • So much for Zak's promises. :lol: Another one I called months ago. Gotta figure that between what FTG is paying him and the Simmons/Abrahmson juggernaut, he coulda just slapped a Clabber Girl sponsorship on the 'league'. The family probably wouldn't let him associate a relatively successful product with the rubbish that is the 'league' though.
    At least Zak has the dismal economy as an excuse. The 'league' and everyone associated with it are good at excuses, terrible at admitting it's a miserable worthless failure.

    How soon will Iowa be off the schedule now that the earl is using dang furrin Brazilian ethanol to fuel the crapwagons? :lol: I'm sure a Brazilian street race on ReVersus will please the faithful few just fine as a replacement. :lol:

    Here's the reality of this whole 'title sponsor' deal - it's stunning that any companies looked at it to begin with, but the ones that considered it, looked at what it offered, and decided it wasn't worth it. It's un-sellable garbage. And it isn't going to get any better, ever.
  • Somebuddy Call the Wambulace. :duh:

    Does this REALLY surprise anyone??? :lol:

    The EARL: An answer to a question nobody asked. :lol:
  • So Ryan, is the best you can do is insult people on this board without providing any inteligent contribution? It looks like they pulled the entire c>rt/owrs/ccws fan club, all 3 or 4, out for this post. Maybe you guys can become fans of something as exciting and as genuine as the c>rt/owrs/ccws. Something like WWF/WWE. Hey they even did the name change thing, something c>rt/owrs/ccws fans are used to.
  • BTW, Versus doesn't want you old Indy codgers messing up its demographics

    Versus' Davis said attracting a younger audience will make the network more attractive to advertisers and sports properties. The average age of Versus viewers dropped from 47 last year to 43 this year. That’s still older than the average age of ESPN viewers at 39.
  • Zak Brown is the Tony George of marketing, lots of empty promises but never delivers. The only difference is that Zak didn't inherit Grandpa's business.
  • Why do the c<rt/owrs/ccws apologists make it so easy? Their hatred for all things TG, IRL and IMS blind them to reality. A good example is Brett. I am sure he is smart in many things, but he really needs to learn how to handle an argument. First rule, know what you are talking about. A little about Zak Brown and Just marketing. 800%+ in company growth in the last 3 years. A client list that includes companies like Subway, Direct TV, UPS, Crown Royal, Johnnie Walker, Lenovo, BMW (expect them to announce an IRL engine program by next summer), Hilton and Irwin Tools among others. He is credited with single handedly convincing NASCAR to end their prohibition on hard alcohol advertising which brought in Crown Royal to sponsor a team, races and the Crown Royal IROC Series.

    He also was tapped by NASCAR to market the new NASCAR HoF. Not bad credentials for someone that Brett claimed was the Tony George of marketing, lots of empty promises but never delivers. But he is wrong with TG as well.

    But who would expect facts like those to show that someone is successful?
  • BMW (expect them to announce an IRL engine program by next summer)

    Hysterical. Complete fiction. And you think we're supposed to take you seriously?

    So Zak can sell Nascar during good economic times, big deal. You gonna be posting about how JM has an 800% contraction by later next year? :lol: It still doesn't mean he can sell the earl. It's un-sellable, putirid, worthless trash.

    I'm sure he's laughing every time a check from FTG shows up though. So is Gene $immon$.
  • Ah Stan, always trying to turn lemonade into lemons. I think any company that has 800% growth no matter what the economic conditions is something to look at. I think any company with a client roster like his is impressive. But you keep on trying to make good things look bad, all it is doing is showing people that no matter what, you are a hate of all things IMS and TG.

    As far as BMW, their name has been bandied about here and on other blogs as having a deep interest in an IRL engine program. They just became a client of JM. I doubt they are going to advertise or run in NASCAR, so what other series is Zak deeply involved in?

    You sound like those who said Zak was nuts to try to overturn the liquor ban in NASCAR. It would never happen, NASCAR is too family friendly for that. Well, don't tell that to Crown Royal, Jim Beam and Jack Daniels.
  • I'll bet my mom's last bottle of whiskey and my brother's last vial of crack that Indycar will have a title sponsor next year.
  • Thank you Tony for fixing things. Why does the IRL need a sponsor anyway?
    You killed CART with Bernie,Bill and your own families money.
    This year could be the breakout year and why would you want some sponsor to get
    your truly earned glory. You have a lot of powder oops i mean power and you can finally
    show the racing world how smart you really are.
    Keep up the excellent work.

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