Miles bullish on Verizon IndyCar awareness plans


Less is more for Verizon Wireless as a company, according to Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles.

As Verizon has scaled back its sports sponsorships to just the National Football League and now title sponsor of the Verizon IndyCar Series, there is more room for growth, activation and promotion for both.

The NFL may be the sports behemoth, but IndyCar appeals to Verizon from a technology standpoint. Miles explained it during an appearance on Inside Indiana Business with Gerry Dick, in an interview with reporter Bill Brenner.

“They’ve been on a strategy where they’ve reduced their sports sponsorships, but increased involvement as title sponsor with us,” Miles said.

“Why? They have two principal sponsorships, NFL and IndyCar. They are determined to spread the message that they are a technology company, not just a telecommunications company.”

Verizon already released a teaser ad to go along with the entitlement partnership announcement. Now, Miles said the ad budget will be huge to moving IndyCar’s story forward.

“When they looked at our sport, they see so many moving parts, and want to improve the operations,” he said. “Their plans for that are terrific, and it will make a difference. They have a $1.2 billion advertising budget. They don’t want to keep it a secret.”

Other topics of the interview included more of his thoughts on expanding the month of May and discussing the various concert lineups as well. You can see a link to the full interview here.

The series kicks off this Sunday at St. Petersburg, with the first race on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra Long Beach on April 13.

Position of F1 start lights altered to compensate for safety halo

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The position of start lights will be altered on Formula One tracks this season, in a bid to ensure the drivers’ line of vision is not impeded by the controversial halo protection device.

The halo is a titanium structure introduced this year in a bid to ramp up driver safety, forming a ring around the cockpit top. It is designed to protect the drivers’ head from loose debris and offer better safety during eventual collisions.

Although drivers largely understand the need for it, very few like it. They are worried it impedes visibility, it looks ugly and also that fans will no longer be able to identify a driver properly from his race helmet. Drivers also take longer to climb in and out of their cars.

Formula One’s governing body has addressed concerns and asked every circuit “to make the lights at a standard height above the track,” FIA race director Charlie Whiting said.

“Pole position seems to be the worst case scenario with the halo,” Whiting added at the season-opening Australian GP. “Maybe the driver can’t quite see the lights, or see only half of them, and he might have to move his head too much.”

The new start lights were positioned lower for Friday’s first two practice sessions at Albert Park. Drivers were also allowed the rare chance to rehearse grid starts at the end of both sessions.

“We haven’t normally allowed practice starts on the grid here because it’s quite a tight timetable,” Whiting said. “What I thought would be a good idea was to give the driver sight of those lights, rather than for the first time on Sunday evening.”

A repeat set of lights has been moved from its usual position halfway up the grid to a more convenient position to the left.

“Those repeat lights were normally halfway up the grid, and they were fitted round about 2009, when the rear wings became higher on the cars,” Whiting said. “But now the wings have been lowered, there’s no need for those halfway up the grid.”