Geico becomes title sponsor at Chicagoland

Geico has signed a three-year deal to title sponsor Chicagoland Speedway's fall Sprint Cup Series race.

The deal gives Geico significant exposure in one of the nation's largest media markets and a high-profile position as the naming-rights partner for the first race in the Chase for the NASACAR Sprint Cup. It's the first time the company has done a naming-rights agreement in any sport.

Terms of the deal weren't available, but race title sponsorships typically sell for around $1 million a year. Sources said the Geico deal was back loaded so that the company would pay less this year and more in the final two years of the deal. It includes marketing and promotional commitments.

"We've had a history of B2B title partners, and we're excited to have a consumer partner," Chicagoland president Scott Paddock said. "We're excited about their history and commitment to activation. The media and promotional support of this is going to be outstanding. They understand the opportunity this platform provides for them and are putting a very attractive amount of resources behind it."

The deal is Geico's second this year with International Speedway Corp., which owns Chicagoland and 11 other Sprint Cup Series tracks. It previously signed a five-year, seven-track sponsorship at ISC-owned campsites. The company underindexes in the Chicago market where competitors Allstate and State Farm have headquarters.

The race sponsorship extends Geico's spending in sports. The company is the leading sports spender in the insurance category. It increased its sports spending by 30 percent in 2010 to $216 million.

Geico has not made a commitment to buy media for the race. That is sold separately by ESPN, which will televise the race. The company has bought advertising to support other sports sponsorships such as its deal with the NHL, which it supported with a series of NHL-specific spots on NBC during the Stanley Cup Finals.

The deal with Geico closes out one of three open race title sponsorships for ISC. The company is in final negotiations on deals for Richmond and Talladega and expects to finalize deals later this summer. Sporting News

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