White Smoke has appeared from 16th Street here in Indy, and “habemus auctor”* has been on all the social media channels. No one can say enough of the great things Verizon has done. Now they’ll be focusing forward, with the 2019 season starting in only a few short weeks. NTT (you know like NTT Data from CGR) INDYCAR series will start! But what has come before us? The split forever complicates historical lookbacks. I’ll make a notation which series it is because we have to do that.
PPG (CART PPG Indy Car World Series) 1980-1997
PPG is a US-based Business-to-Business and Business to Consumer company. They focus mainly on the production of paints, glass (tempered glass), finishing products, and chemicals. They’re actually based in Pittsburg PA. If the name sounds familiar, they’ve been a sponsor on a few of Josef Newgarden’s car (it’s the orange car!).
FedEx (FedEx Championship Series) 1998 – 2002
Quite simply if you don’t know who FedEx you’ve never had anything delivered. It’s an all-encompassing delivery service company. They’re headquartered down in Tennessee and, fun fact, my younger brother used to work for them. Also, there’s an arrow in their logo.
Pep Boys (Pep Boys Indy Racing League) 1998 – 1999
Pep Boys, a Business to Consumer Company, is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The company provides auto parts, services, and tires. It is actually a good choice for a sponsor of a series. It may not work now, with NAPA heavily involved in sponsorship.
Northern Light (Indy Racing Northern Lights Series) 2000-2001
Northern Light is an interesting title sponsor. They’re a Business-to-Business company that specializes in very technical internet research. It’s not really a Google-type search engine. Their products are used by business for market research, brand research, and the like.
Bridgestone and Ford (Bridgestone Presents the Champ World Car Series Powered by Ford) 2003 – 2006
It’s a noticeable titling change to have (a) a presenting sponsor and a (b) powered by sponsor. These years are interesting for American open-wheel fans as this is the time when CART started its decline and ultimate reunification with IRL in a few years. I gave some grief about not knowing FedEx, but seriously if you don’t know Bridgestone (tires) and Ford (automobile company) I cannot help you.
DirecTV (INDYCAR Series in DirecTV HD) 2008
AT&T now owns them, but DirecTV is a direct broadcast satellite company based in California. They only sponsored the series for one season. The sponsorship ended due to various conflicts with the series’ cable broadcast that was owned by Comcast (DirecTV’s competitor).
IZOD (IZOD INDYCAR Series) 2010-2014
Wikipedia indicated IZOD was a “dressy-casual” clothing company, which is a weird term. IZOD had been involved heavily in sports sponsorships prior to coming on board as a title sponsor. In 2007 the company entered into a five-year deal for the naming rigs for the New Jersey Nets stadium. With INDYCAR, they became the apparel providers for INDYCAR and Indy Lights in 2009. The title sponsorship of INDYCAR reportedly cost $10 million a year. The deal was to be for five seasons, but the sponsorship ended after three seasons.
Verizon (Verizon INDYCAR Series) 2014-2018
Good portions of us have Verizon phones or have used the Verizon INDYCAR app these past seasons. They’re a telecommunications company headquartered in New York City. While they ended their sponsorship this season, they’ll continue their sponsorship of various cars in Team Penske.
This brings us to our newest sponsor. Rumours have been rampant about the sponsor and the search. The asking price had been reported as $30 million. That’s a number I can’t even grasp.
An all ready familiar name in the paddock as they’ve been a part of Chip Ganassi Racing’s cadre of sponsors. A telecom company from Japan but has a US headquarters.
Also I dig the logo but I like white and blue space in a logo.
*the internet tells me that’s Latin for “we have a sponsor”