INDYCAR announced today that Verizon will be the new title sponsor of the IndyCar Series beginning in 2014. INDYCAR and Verizon have signed a multi-year agreement to re-brand the series as the Verizon IndyCar Series.
INDYCAR CEO Mark Miles says the partnership is a game changer for fans, drivers and the series as a whole.
“In a real sense I think it represents a kind of confirmation of the strategies we’ve put into place and where we intend to take the sport and is the beginning of the next phase of IndyCar’s growth,” Miles added. “You know, as we’ve done some work in the last several months as has probably been done in the past, I think about what is fundamentally IndyCar; speed and the daring of the drivers and the skill of the drivers are, we think, a huge part of what we offer the public. But at the same time, going back to our earliest roots, innovation is part of our brand and part of what we stand for. The more we’ve thought about it, innovation has a role on the track, and we expect to be more innovative, again, over time.
“But innovation also has a lot to do with how we go to the market and how we captivate the fans and present the sport in all its depth and excitement to fans, and I cannot imagine a more perfect partner to be true to those roots and to take us to the next level of leadership in sports for the way we use innovation to put the sport forward.”
Verizon has been a long-time partner with Team Penske, and has been involved in IndyCar sponsorship in the past, sponsoring the Verizon P1 Award for each races’ pole sitter. That will continue this year, as well.
“We’ve had a great relationship just as a partner, and then even with the Penske team,” Verizon Wireless vice‑president of marketing Brian Angiolet said. “When you look at this, it just became the right time for Verizon to step up into this position. Internally, we have been evolving our brand and our position in the marketplace from a mobile‑ and wireless‑centric company into more of this technology company, and when you think about the role that technology plays in IndyCar, it just seemed like a great match.
“And now with this agreement, and when you look at the roadmap that we have both in the agreement and from a product standpoint, I think we feel that we now have a platform really here to demonstrate what all of our technology can bring to the fan base, inside and outside the venue. So it’s a perfect match at a perfect time.”
Verizon will look to put the IndyCar Series in front of the most people possible through marketing with their technical experts that have made their mobile company one of the top companies world-wide. The idea will be to link sports, entertainment and technology together to benefit all parties.
Angiolet said that there will be an increase in the amount of commercials moving forward, recognizing hte lack of national recognition that IndyCar has been missing.
“Yeah, I think you will see ‑‑ we’ve had a commitment to ‑‑ we’ve got cars with the teams, we’ve got drivers, the Indy league itself, the technology position, the spots that we’re creating around that I think are going to be very exciting, kind of visceral, and that’s part of the muscle that we would bring and will bring,” Angiolet commented.
In the coming weeks, Verizon has some projects that they are going to start implementing already – significant network coverage upgrades to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as part of its Project 100, short- and long-term technology enhancements to INDYCAR Race Control and the addition of pit lane monitors and enhancing connectivity for spectators at each domestic race venue.
“The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 has long been recognized as a technological proving ground and an association with Verizon positions the racetrack with the global leader in technological innovation and communication,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles commented. “As we work to enhance the fan experience at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway leading up to the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 in 2016, we are excited about the new avenues in information delivery and access that Verizon will be able to help us explore for our fans.”
Verizon will also it’s LTE Multicast solution at race tracks, which will go with the Verizon INDYCAR 14 app and indycar.com, the official website of INDYCAR. The idea will be to deliver news and updates at a quicker pace.
Verizon has been the primary sponsor for Will Power’s No. 12 Team Penske car over the past four years and will continue to be in the future. Verizon also will be the primary sponsor of the No. 2 entry driven by Juan Pablo Montoya for at least eight races.
“Verizon Wireless has been a terrific partner for Team Penske and as a global leader in technology and communications the company is a perfect fit as a title sponsor for the Verizon IndyCar Series,” Roger Penske commented. “We have seen how much Verizon cares about advancing technology in racing and how it can help bring the sport closer to the fans. Verizon has tremendous passion for IndyCar racing and their vision, dedication and commitment will be a great benefit to the Verizon IndyCar Series and its future.”
The Verizon IndyCar Series season opens on March 30 (3 p.m. ET, ABC) in St. Petersburg.