Friday, March 14, 2014

Indycar + Verizon = Done

The news is official. Verizon and Indycar have signed a deal which sees Verizon taking over as the title sponsor of Indycar!

My take on Verizon signing on to be the new title sponsor of the Indycar Series: It's hard to consider having a company as big as Verizon on your side a bad thing. You'd have to be missing brain cells to think this is bad for Indycar.

Verizon have had history in Indycar, but they reemerged onto the scene in 2009. To refresh your memory, Will Power signed on with Team Penske to replace Helio Castroneves, who was in deep shit. At the time, Helio was being investigated for tax evasion. Will raced in Helio's stead, which turned out to be only one race. Helio was then acquitted and he took back his seat that rightfully belonged to him. This left Power in an awkward situation. Not wanting to hang him out to dry, Roger Penske started up a third car for a select number of races for Power. His sponsor? Verizon.

Will Power - Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
Power's first of many races under the Verizon banner was at Long Beach
in 2009 (Photo: Darrell Ingham / Getty Images North America)

Power has been driving for Penske ever since, and Verizon has been his primary sponsor. As the years progressed, Verizon began to increase their presence in Indycar, with a number of commercials, apps for fans like Indycar '13, and overall exposure in the series. The Verizon P1 award, given to the pole sitter of each race, began last season. Verizon's Indycar account, called 'Paddock Insider,' offers a great glimpse into the sport, with behind the scene tweets and prizes for followers. Verizon will once again sponsor Power in 2014, as well as Juan Pablo Montoya for select races.

So, when IZOD left Indycar following the conclusion of the 2013 season, many fans and insiders pointed the finger at one company to become the new title sponsor: Verizon. It made a lot of sense on all fronts. Their increased exposure into the sport as well as the potential to take Indycar, a sport definitely on the rise, to new heights saw Verizon jump at the chance to be the title sponsor.

Details are sparse, but there's been speculation that the deal is roughly a 10 year deal for upwards of $100 million. That's fantastic news for Indycar, which could definitely use some cash.

Will Power - MAVTV 500
Everyone's a winner! (Photo: Getty Images North America)

Another point that makes some sort of sense is there rival company, Sprint, is the title sponsor of NASCAR. Could a cold war (of sorts) be developing between the two sides, with racing being used as one of the battlegrounds?

At the end of the day, Verizon is a huge company. They were 16th on the Fortune 500 list of 2013 (via CNN Money). That's mega! Having a company this big partnered with you is a dream come true.

Let me know what you think!

-Matthew Hickey

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