Good news only weakens me

Posted by Iannucci | 3/30/2009 | 13 comments »
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Has anyone else seen this report posted today at Sports Business Journal? I have never - and I mean NEVER - seen a story filled with so much sunshine and roses as this report. And I don't mean the kind of sunshine that gets blown up your backside; I'm talking the real, so-bright-it-burns-your-face kind.

Ad sales encouraging as IRL launches season

The Indy Racing League opens its season Sunday with some new sponsors, a new TV deal with Versus and a hybrid licensing/sponsorship pact with Mattel that will it give some badly needed retail exposure in the form of IRL-branded Hot Wheels sets.

The IRL added Versus as a television partner last August, with a 10-year, $67 million deal, under which the cable network is committed to carrying 130 hours of IRL programming this year. ESPN/ABC still holds the rights to five IRL races, including the Indianapolis 500. With the new arrangement, ad sales are pacing ahead of expectations.

“We will end up above budget with our Versus commitment,” said Terry Angstadt, president of the IRL’s commercial division. The Indy 500 broadcast on ABC is also selling very well, he said. Large ad buyers include endemics Honda, Firestone and Peak car products.
But wait, there's more.

Mattel wants to integrate their Hot Wheels brand more at races, including a Hot Wheels branded pace car. This could be the biggest toy involvement in IndyCars since Al Unser's Johnny Lightening.

The subscription-based Race Control will return but this time it will be a service of and will feature advertising by This is the service that let's you listen to drivers shout unintelligibly while their spotters and crew chiefs speak in calm reassuring tones. You might even catch a hand puppet show now and then.

Hot Wheels versions of IndyCars will be available at Wal-mart, Target and Toys 'R Us in May. The offerings include 1:24 and 1:64 models as well as "a slot car track set, cars with sound chips, remote-control cars and play sets." Holy Christmas List!

IZOD will begin selling their Indy apparel line in April, featuring ad buys during IRL programming and in movie theaters. Ryan Hunter-Reay, on the big screen.

Oh, the IRL also inked new sponsorship deals with names like Orbitz, XM Stallite Radio, Featherlite and Bosch. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for a little Snoopy Dance.

UPDATE: 16th and Georgetown has found the IZOD commercial.


  1. redd // March 30, 2009 4:12 PM  

    commercial looks great. I'm ready for Sunday.

  2. Anonymous // March 30, 2009 4:20 PM  


  3. diecast dude // March 30, 2009 4:26 PM  

    Meanwhile, I'm wondering not if but when the Administration-approved restructuring plans for GM and Chrysler will dictate no more factory support for NASCAR.

    On a brighter note, I'm told the test copy of my book is in production and I should have it in a few days.

    And I'll have some neat new toys to buy soon courtesy of Mattel. If their IRL diecast matches the quality of their F1, we're in for a treat.

  4. Allen Wedge // March 30, 2009 4:43 PM  

    not just matchbox cars too, I really like THIS

  5. AZZO45 // March 30, 2009 4:52 PM  

    Pace car programs are nice, but I'd suggest a team sponsorship... a Ryan Hunter-Reay IZOD/ Hot Wheels sponsored Dallara sound nice!!!

    diecast dude: Telling GM or Chrysler to kill NASCAR activities would eliminate ALL the other racing activities as well.

    Plus, when Daimler owned Chrysler, they explored killing the Dodge efforts in NASCAR & found that the team contracts were ironclad & it would still cost them $$$.

    If the $$$ is SPENT what's the point of a dog & pony show... so the uneducated THINK a struggling company is being for fiscally responsible?

    So you get the disgrace & bad PR of a pullout & have to PAY FOR IT (unless deadlines pass& they enter bankruptcy...) BOTH companies scaled back their NASCAR efforts BTW.

  6. Unknown // March 30, 2009 5:42 PM  

    Wait, I am confused.

    "The subscription-based Race Control will return, but this time it will be a service of" is the gateway for an online motorsports simulation. Am I missing something in translation?

  7. Unknown // March 30, 2009 5:47 PM  

    Okay, nevermind, I get it now. Stupid me should have read the original source to begin with.


    Advertising for the Race Control product will be seen on The Race Control service itself is still a service of

  8. Carrie // March 30, 2009 6:02 PM  

    I love the commercial! Ryan looks awesome. And I think the girl in the middle of the three walking up the ramp is Beccy Gordon!

  9. Iannucci // March 30, 2009 8:29 PM  

    Thanks for the catch, Edmund.

  10. pressdog // March 31, 2009 6:25 AM  

    So, does this mean the IRL is NOT DOOOMMMMED? Lot of people will be disappointed. Jeff's being a meany to the haters posting this kind of positive stuff.

  11. Demond Sanders // March 31, 2009 9:44 AM  

    Buddy of my that supplies parts to most of the teams just told me things are looking good for St. Pete and even better for Long Beach.

    Says his Indycar business is hanging steady and NASCAR is down about 40%

  12. Anonymous // March 31, 2009 6:15 PM  

    “We’ve positioned ourselves as the value brand in motorsports, which should help us continue to grow in a tough sales environment,” Angstadt said.

    So, who's the beer sponsor, "Blatz"?

  13. Pat W // April 01, 2009 12:00 PM  

    With these deals and the recent driver announcements, things are suddenly starting to look pretty sweet this season, can't wait for it to get started!