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IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials announced today they will open an office in Santa Monica, Calif., to make further inroads into the media and entertainment industries.
“If we want to grow the sport, we need to be fully vested in relationships with the entertainment community that can tell the storylines of our sport," said IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard. “This will be a one-stop shop to pursue opportunities and make deals across multiple business lines and entertainment outlets.”
Sarah Nettinga will manage the new office and become senior vice president of media and entertainment for IndyCar Entertainment. Nettinga brings extensive experience to the initiative from her time building similar relationships with Hollywood in her previous role with NASCAR.
“Sarah has a substantial set of relationships that will get us off to a running start,” Bernard said. “She has a detailed understanding of this landscape that blends sports and entertainment.”
The IndyCar Series is in a unique position for growth that makes opportunities for integration into film, television, music and emerging media properties exciting, Bernard said. From the announcements of the 2012 new car project that includes engine manufacturers Honda, Chevrolet and Lotus to 14 new sponsors – including Fortune 500 companies Verizon, Sunoco and Philips – being added in 2010, the IndyCar Series has considerable momentum, he added.
“Having an IndyCar office in Los Angeles will provide our sport and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway a strong presence in an important global community,” said IMS CEO Jeff Belskus. “The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has a great story to tell in 2011 as we prepare for the 100th Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500. In addition to the business reasons to have an office in Los Angeles, it is a very fitting location because many of the celebrated stories and personalities associated with the Indianapolis 500 over the last century have deep roots in southern California.”
At NASCAR, Nettinga developed and produced film and television shows with third-party producers, managing production for NASCAR for three motion pictures “NASCAR 3D: The Imax Experience” for Warner Bros., “Herbie: Fully Loaded” for Disney and, as an executive producer on “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby for Sony.” For television, she was responsible for six series, with the most groundbreaking being “NASCAR DRIVER: 360” for FX.
Prior to joining auto racing, Nettinga was a production executive at Warner Bros. International Television Production. She also has worked for Columbia Tristar Television, CBS, Petry Television, Westinghouse International and Sony International Television in roles that involved development, sales, production, branding and marketing in the entertainment industry.