IRL to roll out new sponsors UPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement. Expect more IRL sponsors to be announced soon. Expect them to do a lot more for the IRL than Roshfrans did for Champ Car. After doing essentially nothing they quietly stepped aside.
10/30/07 The new official motor oil of the IRL has been announced as Peak Lubricants.
10/29/07 The Indy Racing League will roll out category sponsorship deals with soft drink, energy drink and motor oil brands in the next two months.
IRL officials declined to divulge which companies the deals are with, but said each are multiyear, multimillion-dollar deals.
Sources close to the series said Frank’s Energy Drink will be one of the category sponsors. The Austrian-made drink is huge in parts of Europe and throughout Canada, with a healthy marketing budget and ambitious U.S. expansion plans.
Former rocker Gene Simmons, who was hired in 2006 to help market the IRL, has an affiliation with Frank’s and was said to be instrumental in the deal.
IRL officials said these agreements are the biggest sponsorship deals they’ve inked in more than five years. They all represent category sponsorships the IRL has never had.
The soft drink deal is with one of the world’s largest soft drink makers, industry sources said. Sponsorship experts said they’re intrigued by the deal, which they said could be the catalyst for big growth for the racing series.
“A one-year deal is an experiment,” said Mel Poole, president of SponsorLogic, a North Carolina-based motorsports marketing consultancy. “A multiyear deal is a commitment. It takes time to develop … promotion strategies and this shows their new corporate partners are ready to do that.”
IRL officials said all three deals will come with significant “mandated” activation components, meaning the sponsors will likely spend as much in advertising and promotion as they pay to the league in cash.
The motor oil company has promised a promotion through 9,000 auto-parts stores, and the soft drink and energy drink makers have deals to place IRL-related advertising and promote the product and its racing affiliation through convenience and grocery stores, IRL officials said.
“We have an unprecedented level of sponsorship activity and opportunity in the Indy Racing League right now,” said Terry Angstadt, president of IRL’s commercial division. “We have a level of aggression and professionalism that we simply haven’t had before.”
An internal reorganization this year of the IRL’s sales and marketing department has bolstered the effort, Angstadt said.
The first announcement will come Oct. 31 at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Since SEMA is an automotive-related show, industry experts said IRL officials would likely use it to unveil the league’s official motor oil.
League officials denied rumors that Lucas Oil, which has a stadium naming rights deal with the Indianapolis Colts, is a new category sponsor.
The second category sponsor will be unveiled sometime in November or December, with a third announcement coming in conjunction with the launch of a new national consumer product either on or shortly after Jan. 1. The platform for the latter two announcements is still being determined. More at IBJ.com