After months of rumors and speculation, Verizon and the IndyCar Series have jointly announced that the wireless carrier will further expand its marketing efforts for the highest level open-wheel racing series in the US by signing on as the series Entitlement Sponsor in a multi-year deal reportedly worth an estimated $100 million.Verizon will also continue its sponsorship of Team Penske and expand its deal to cover returning IndyCar driver Juan Pablo Montoya for eight races.
The deal will also see Verizon deploy LTE Broadcast technology throughout the year at races throughout the championship in order to complement its IndyCar smartphone app as well as offering network and additional short/long-term infrastructure upgrades for the IndyCar Series and its varied race venues around the country (the exception will be the Canadian rounds of the championship).
Verizon first expanded its marketing role for IndyCar in 2010 by becoming an Official Partner and launching its IndyCar smartphone app which offers live timing/scoring and pit radio/in-car camera access throughout the racing season along with live radio broadcasts of each race provided by the IMS Radio Network. The carrier also launched extensive marketing throughout print, TV commercials and Verizon Retail locations which have continued, with the latest ad announcing the title sponsorship being launched today and posted below.
While Verizon is expanding its marketing reach for IndyCar even further, the real winner for the new deal is the IndyCar Series, which has endured nearly 18 years of nearly moribund commercial activity when it began as the Indy Racing League in 1996 in response to the then dominant American open-wheel racing series in the CART/PPG IndyCar World Series.
That Verizon is willing to invest so much in a title sponsorship and R&D/infrastructure role in tandem with conventional motorsport sponsorship now means that the carrier sees a long-term benefit to being associated with the series, where current conventional wisdom would dictate that such sponsorships have limited benefits, given Sprint’s current long-term title sponsorship of NASCAR’s top series in the Sprint Cup with little outward gain to show for the millions of dollars spent on marketing over the years.