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Sports Business

Roundup: Yuengling bubbles up at west-side track, Colts sign merchandise deal

May 10, 2017
KEYWORDS Sports Business

We'll kick off a rare roundup in The Score with a beer sponsorship:

Yuengling beer bubbling at Lucas Oil Raceway

Lucas Oil Raceway this week named Yuengling the official beer of the track situated just west of Indianapolis.

Yuengling, which recently began distribution in Indiana and has inspired a cult-like following in other parts of the country, will have a season-long presence on branded promotional material at the multi-purpose facility, track officials said.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Lucas Oil Raceway is best known for hosting the National Hot Rod Association's annual U.S. Nationals drag-racing competition over the Labor Day weekend.

“We welcome the D.G. Yuengling & Son brand not only to the state but also to Lucas Oil Raceway for an exciting race season,” Kasey Coler, general manager of Lucas Oil Raceway, said in a media statement. “During the year we have a large number of events which will allow Yuengling increased exposure in the market.”

Yuengling Brewery is a fifth-generation, American-owned and family-operated company that launched in 1829 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

One of four drag racing facilities owned and operated by the NHRA, Lucas Oil Raceway was built in 1960 and has hosted racing events since 1961. 

From March through October, the facility hosts more than 120 days of racing on two tracks: a quarter-mile drag strip and a .686-mile paved oval.

Deal reunites Colts with merchandiser MainGate

MainGate Inc. this week signed a deal to become the Indianapolis Colts’ official provider of promotional and premium merchandise.

The Colts did not have an official partner in this category previously. Financial terms of the one-year deal were not disclosed.

MainGate previously handled retail and merchandise sales for the Colts—including running their stores at Lucas Oil Stadium and Circle Centre Mall—for seven years until that deal was handed off to Lids in 2015.

Under the agreement MainGate signed this week, the Indianapolis-based company will serve as the preferred provider of promotional (non-retail) merchandise for the Colts, their sponsors and partners, delivering “customized merchandise solutions,” company officials said.

MainGate’s new deal doesn’t affect Lids’ relationship with the Colts.

MainGate will work closely with the team and its sponsors to develop "fully integrated merchandise and promotional programs to further connect the Colts with their fans, sponsors and the community," MainGate CEO Dave Moroknek said.

“Providing our sponsors and partners of the Colts with premium items that are of both outstanding quality and hit the mark emotionally is extremely important to us,” Matt Godbout, Colts senior vice president of business development, said in a statement. “We trust MainGate and know that they will not only provide outstanding merchandise choices for us, but that our partners will love the results, too.” 

MainGate works with teams in various leagues nationwide and is the only company that has been a merchandise vendor at every Super Bowl since 2011.

WNBA’s Fever renews marketing deal with local firm 

The Indiana Fever have renewed its agreement with Indianapolis-based Benchwarmers Marketing, retaining the group as the team’s agency of record for the 2017 WNBA season. Benchwarmers was initially hired by the franchise prior to the 2016 season.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Benchwarmers will produce all Fever advertising elements from outdoor to print to digital.

Benchwarmers Marketing is a division of Hunt Creative Group. Founded in 2010 by president Allison Hunt, Hunt Creative Group provides a variety of marketing services to Indianapolis businesses. Benchwarmers Marketing launched in 2014, adding Justin Hunt and Matt Cooper, two experienced marketers who both spent time working for professional sports teams.

In addition to the Fever, Benchwarmers has completed multiple projects for the Indiana Pacers, Bankers Life Fieldhouse and the Pacers Foundation. The agency also has the United States Tennis Association/Midwest Section and Tamika Catchings as clients.

The Fever posted record revenue last season, and enjoyed its second-best year for attendance.

“We had a record year [for revenue] last year and Benchwarmers contributed to this,” said Julie Graue, Fever chief operating officer. “We hope that momentum continues through 2017 as we strive to be a leader among our WNBA counterparts.”

The team intends to build off last year’s theme, utilizing the #WatchUsWork tagline throughout the Indianapolis market.

Wilson, Clauson inspiration for Speedway educational effort

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced Tuesday that it has partnered with Indiana Donor Network to promote organ, tissue and eye donation and transplantation through the Drive2SaveLives campaign. The goal is to educate race fans on donation and to encourage them to register their donation decisions through the campaign, IMS officials said.

“This partnership between IMS and the Indiana Donor Network is very important to all of us,” Mark Miles, president and CEO of IMS parent Hulman & Co. said in a statement. “We see this as a great opportunity to reach fans who visit the 'Racing Capital of the World' throughout the year, informing them about the need for registered donors across Indiana and the United States.”

Indiana Donor Network, which oversees and coordinates organ, tissue and eye donation across the state, launched Driven2SaveLives in April 2016 with IndyCar driver Stefan Wilson to promote donation and transplantation awareness around the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. At the time, the campaign honored Stefan's late brother, IndyCar driver Justin Wilson, who died in August 2015 from injuries he sustained in a race crash and saved five lives as an organ donor.

“When we launched Driven2SaveLives last year, we wanted to show the hope and healing that donation provides families, and in turn, we hoped to inspire race fans to become registered donors like the Wilson brothers," said Kellie Hanner, president and chief executive officer of Indiana Donor Network. "Then we lost another racing hero in Bryan Clauson, and his family approached us to help spread donation awareness and to encourage donation registration more broadly within motorsports.”

Clauson, of Noblesville, was killed in an August 2016 accident during a USAC midget race in Kansas. Doctors said his organ donation upon his death saved five lives.

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