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 seasonBut wait, there's more.
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.
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
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.