IndyCar expected to sign Verizon as much-needed title sponsor

Verizon Wireless is set to sign a deal to become the title sponsor of the IndyCar Series beginning this season, sources familiar with the deal said Friday afternoon.

The sponsorship is a five-year deal worth $10 million a year with an option to extend the pact another five years, sources said.

IndyCar Series officials did not immediately return calls seeking comment Friday, but Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, in an interview with IBJ, promised in late January to have a much-needed replacement for apparel brand Izod as the title sponsor by the time the green flag dropped on the series’ first race March 30.

Izod first joined the IndyCar Series in 2008 as the official apparel provider and became the title sponsor with a splashy announcement in 2010. After a management change in 2012, Izod became increasingly less active as title sponsor and announced late last year it would depart the series after the 2013 season.

“[Sponsors’] ability to help us grow the sport, project the brand and enhance our fan experience is the highest priority,” Miles told IBJ. “The rights fee is secondary to that.”

The source close to the deal said the sponsorship is not officially signed yet, “but it will be.”

Verizon has been an active IndyCar Series sponsor since 2009, when it began a relationship with Team Penske. Even before the title deal, Verizon was one of the most high-profile sponsors in the open-wheel series.

Miles acknowledged the series has not made a profit since its formation in 1996.


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