Rumor: Verizon Leaving?

The day you sign a sponsor is the day you start losing a sponsor.

This is a concept that the TV show 'Mad Men' taught me. The show is focused on a 1960s advertising agency in New York City, where they always say, "The day you sign a client is the day you start losing them." No client in Mad Men stays forever, just like no sponsor in IndyCar stays forever.

In this case, it could be Verizon on its way out of IndyCar.

After brief sponsorship back in the day, Verizon joined IndyCar again in 2009 with Team Penske and Will Power as a secondary sponsor. In 2010, they joined Power full-time and still serve as his primary sponsor to this day. 

In 2014, Verizon signed a 10 year, $100 million deal with the IndyCar Series to become their primary title sponsor. They also increased their presence with Team Penske, sponsoring two and sometimes three cars in a race. They've turned into one of the best sponsors in IndyCar.

However, it could be coming to an end soon.

According to RACER, there's more to the story than the Helio Castroneves rumors. Verizon can withdraw as the title sponsor after the 2018 season despite signing the decade contract. If they do that, they'll likely get out of the sport altogether.

Will Power at St. Petersburg in 2016 (Photo: AP)

With Team Penske facing the reality of having to find new sponsors, scaling down to three cars makes financial sense while they get their ducks in a row.

Recent title sponsors in IndyCar includes include PepBoys, PPG, FedEx, Bridgestone, Northern Light, and IZOD.


My Opinion

It's never good to lose a sponsor, especially one as large and involved as Verizon. However, the series will survive. It wasn't solely existing because of Verizon. And Verizon continued to deescalate their activation shortly after becoming the title sponsor. 

It's a bummer that this is one of the factors causing Team Penske to drop down to three cars. But Team Penske can find a new sponsor in no time, although I'm not sure it'll be as big as Verizon.

With Target leaving after 2015 and Verizon potentially leaving after 2018, that's two huge sponsors for the two biggest teams leaving in a handful of years. This also makes it look that much more difficult for teams trying to join IndyCar to start up with sponsors not exactly lining up at the door to sponsor teams.


Thanks for reading!

-Matthew Hickey