Chip Ganassi Racing announced a multiyear primary sponsor deal for its Extreme E team with streaming service startup SEGI.TV, which will produce behind-the-scenes documentary-style content of the new racing series on its new platform.
Sycamore Entertainment Group Inc. CEO Ed Sylvan told NBCSports.com that a SEGI.TV documentary crew of five will follow the circuit that will race electric SUVs around the globe to raise awareness about climate change.
In a vein similar to Netflix’s “Drive to Survive” series about Formula One, Sylvan said edited pieces of 20 to 45 minutes and a seasonlong wrapup about Extreme E will be produced for SEGI.TV, which is available on Roku and slated for Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Samsung and other OTT channels early next year.
SEGI.TV also will post Extreme E content on its social media channels.
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Sylvan said SEGI.TV’s follow documentary content would focus on how drivers Sara Price and Kyle LeDuc and their teams adapt to the racing and the travel schedules as well as how local communities are impacted by the series, which will race in Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Greenland, Brazil and Argentina.
“As fantastic as the series is as it pertains to pure racing, there are also so many stories surrounding being there as a team and what Extreme E stands for, such as how are drivers and teams interact with the people who live in these places full time and how will we affect that place when we’re gone,” Sylvan said. “Who are the people in those areas and what they eat, how they live, what they care about and how they feel about us being there. Those stories need to be told as well, so we’ll capture all that, too.”
Sylvan declined to reveal financial details of the sponsorship but said he planned to attend races in IndyCar, IMSA and NASCAR as a Ganassi guest with the possibility of sponsoring the team in other series.
A former go-kart racer and lifelong racing fan, Sylvan said the deal grew out of discussions that he had started with a Ganassi employee whom he met online and “the love of motorsport turned into a business transaction.
“When I took a good look at what was happening over at Extreme E and Chip Ganassi, both of those companies and brands stand for the exact same things we stand for, and those are issues of diversity, inclusion, sustainability, climate change and caring about the Earth we live on and the community that surrounds everybody,” Sylvan said. “So we just went about the business of finding a way to be part of it and be the main sponsor.”
In a statement, team owner Chip Ganassi said, “I am very happy to bring a partner to our team like Sycamore Entertainment. They are really trying to be innovative with their new streaming service content, and I love that about them.
“I think that fits well with what we are trying to do with Extreme E. Innovation is one of our core values and when you are innovative, I think you become relevant. As a team owner, I need to stay relevant in the industry, but also relevant in the social landscape. That is what I think Sycamore Entertainment, Extreme E and Chip Ganassi Racing all have in common.”
The Extreme E Series recently completed its first test session in Spain with its Odyssey 21 model. The series will begin its inaugural season March 20-21 in Saudi Arabia.