Miles bullish on Verizon IndyCar awareness plans

3 Comments

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.

Indy 500 analyst role part of looking forward for Danica Patrick

Getty Images
1 Comment

It’s been 10 months since Danica Patrick last competed in an auto racing event and she is completely fine with that.

Patrick was last seen in a cockpit in last May’s Indianapolis 500, part of her mini-retirement tour from racing that also included a run in the Daytona 500.

Now she’ll be back at the track, serving as an analyst for NBC’s broadcast of the 103rd Indy 500 on May 26.

It will be an interlude to her post-racing career.

“I really don’t miss racing,” Patrick said during a teleconference Wednesday.  “I’m really happy. I selfishly set out (with) the intention I wanted to travel a lot. I’ve definitely done that. Also working on my other businesses.”

Without racing, Patrick is able to look over her “Warrior” clothing line and her Somnium wine. She’s also been a host of ESPN’s Espy Awards show.

“I’m not a look-back kind of person, I’m a look-forward (person),” Patrick said. “This is something that’s part of looking forward. This is something totally new and different for me. It’s coming at a place where I have a lot of history, but it hasn’t been my job, which is why I’m going to work really hard to make sure I’m ready, like anything else I do that’s different.

Since retiring, Patrick said she watches racing “when I can.”

“I’m not going to lie, I’m happy doing what I’m doing,” Patrick said. “It’s allowed me new opportunities like this.”

This won’t be the first time Patrick has served in an analyst role for a race. She did the same for some Xfinity Series race broadcasts in the last few years of her NASCAR career.

“It’s very good to have had that experience,” Patrick said. “Obviously I was giving my driving experience sort of perspective and that insight, which is something I’m going to be doing again. But it was a guest spot.

“This is firm and established, part of a small team of two with Mike (Tirico) and I. I think there’s going to be a lot more preparation involved, I’m going to need to know a lot more information.”

Patrick said there will be one difference in her Indy 500 experience this year compared to the eight times she competed in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

“I didn’t purposely look at the buildup of the day,” Patrick said. “I didn’t want to see the fans rolling in, all the pomp and circumstance. I really liked to keep it quiet. I wanted to just walk out there and have it be the event, not let myself get built up too much in my head with nerves, just the platform, the iconic event that it was, the millions of people. I just wanted to stay focused and go do it.

“This time, I’m sure I will see the buildup. I’m sure I’ll see the place fill in and turn from a quiet, peaceful, magical place, (and) at the shot of a cannon it’s going to start unraveling. That will be a cool perspective for me that I purposely haven’t really watched closely.”

and on Facebook