Report: Verizon close to deal to become IndyCar title sponsor

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The Sports Business Journal is reporting that Verizon and IndyCar are close to a deal that would see the telecommunications giant be named IndyCar’s title sponsor.

Per sources who spoke to the SBJ, Verizon would commit to spend approximately $10M a year in rights, activation and media. The length of the deal would be 10 years, valued at $100M.

Quite honestly, the move would make sense on so many levels that to my occasionally skeptical eye, I wasn’t sure a deal like this could actually happen. Because in theory, back in September when news of IZOD’s departure was confirmed, I thought a Verizon title sponsorship would be simply too good to be true.

If it happens, Verizon’s activation will be the key to the partnership, between retail stores and ad promotion and other outlets where they can promote.

They can promote a “speed” aspect – both in terms of its actual 4G LTE service and Internet speed – and with the comparison of IndyCar’s top speeds (230mph-plus) versus NASCAR’s (200mph-plus), with their title sponsor still Sprint.

For five years, Verizon has been among the most active in the motorsports sponsorship business with Roger Penske’s organization. It entered with Will Power on a part-time deal in 2009, before it became a full-time sponsor in 2010.

In 2013, Verizon signage was visible on all rear wheel guards in the field, and Verizon has also stepped up to sponsor the pole award – now officially known as the Verizon P1 Award.

This year, Verizon’s presence on cars will not only be for a full-season for Power, but for eight races on Juan Pablo Montoya’s No. 2 car and at all three cars at the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis (Power, JPM and Helio Castroneves) May 10.

The company works with Indianapolis-based Just Marketing International, JMI for short, on its motorsports sponsorships.

Here’s who were picking to win the Indy 500 — who are YOU picking?

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Several members of the NBC Sports motorsports staff have made their predictions on who will win Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Of the six voters, two are going with 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden, while two others are going with Helio Castroneves to win a fourth 500, which would tie him with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

Here’s our picks. Who are YOU picking?

Leigh Diffey: Helio Castroneves — He drives the place better than anyone else. For me (for what its worth) he deserves a fourth 500 ring for the frustration he went through never getting the IndyCar title!

Townsend Bell: Josef Newgarden

Nate Ryan: Simon Pagenaud — All of his 2018 misfortune on the track has disappeared in May, and it culminates in the biggest victory of his career.

Jerry Bonkowski: Helio Castroneves – There’s no pressure as he pursues his fourth Indy 500 win. All Helio has to do, as late NFL owner Al Davis would say, is “Just win, baby!” (But if Helio falls short, watch for Marco Andretti)

Kyle Lavigne: Josef Newgarden — I think he has everything he needs to get it done this year.

Dan Beaver: Robert Wickens – Has driven like anything except a rookie and his second-place finish at Phoenix proves he’s just as good on an oval as the road courses.

Follow: Jerry Bonkowski