Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation announced today a multi-year agreement in principle with the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body for the IndyCar Series, for its IZOD brand to become the title sponsor of the newly renamed IZOD IndyCar Series.
The IZOD IndyCar Series, which will mark the League's first title sponsorship since 2001, introduced its new logo and key partnership details today, with additional activation, promotional plans and marketing initiatives to be revealed in the coming months, prior to the start of the 2010 season.
Under the new arrangement, IZOD will also retain its designation as the official apparel partner of the Indy Racing League, which began in 2008. Key elements of the agreement are expected to include:
• Multi-year, multi-million-dollar activation plans and brand-building efforts around the IZOD IndyCar Series intended to broaden the promotion of the sport both off the track and beyond its traditional audience.
• Increased and enhanced national media initiatives with the series' two television partners – ESPN on ABC and VERSUS.
• Access to drivers and 100 years' worth of motorsports assets and graphics from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, including current and vintage cars, for both on- and off-track events, both in and out of race markets.
• Multi-year, multi-million-dollar commitment to participate in the IZOD IndyCar Series Team Enhancement/Allocation Matrix (TEAM) fund. Introduced in 2008, TEAM provides a guaranteed financial foundation for all teams committed to running the entire IZOD IndyCar Series schedule.
• Shared Web initiatives and online promotions.
• Rights to use two parade laps in the IZOD IndyCar Series two-seater at the start of the Indianapolis 500 and other selected races – providing a one-of-a-kind experience to an IZOD-selected VIP or fan sweepstakes winner.
"The combination of young, dynamic drivers representing more than 14 countries, events in key domestic and global markets and its strong American racing heritage make the IndyCar Series a perfect fit for the sport-spirited IZOD brand lifestyle," said Allen Sirkin, President and Chief Operating Officer of Phillips-Van Heusen. "Our involvement with the IRL began shortly after the unification of U.S. open-wheel racing and, despite the recession, we have seen growth, and sense the potential for even greater opportunity as the sport is re-energized on the American sports landscape, as well as abroad. We're excited at the opportunity to become the title sponsor of the IZOD IndyCar Series and look forward to taking our partnership with the fastest form of motorsports in the world, along with its 'cars and stars,' to a new level of marketing and activation both on and off the track."
"Our relationship with the IZOD brand has been on the fast track since the day we began our partnership in 2008, and we are thrilled they have taken a bigger and more vital role in our sport," said Terry Angstadt, president of the Commercial Division of the Indy Racing League. "Their strong marketing skills, national retail partnerships and ability to bring fresh eyes to the sport have already proven powerful in our short time together. We're confident that we have found a partner with a strong brand, a bright future and a vision for growing the IZOD IndyCar Series that will benefit fans, drivers, teams, owners and tracks."
The move by Phillips-Van Heusen follows a series of recent similar decisions to shift IZOD's marketing mix toward sports and sponsorship activation. In 2008, IZOD was awarded the naming rights for what was then Continental Airlines Arena at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, home of the New Jersey Nets, renaming it the IZOD Center. Phillips-Van Heusen's efforts helped lift the IZOD Center to become the fourth-ranked venue of its kind in North America. Phillips-Van Heusen also recently announced its VAN HEUSEN brand's sponsorship of the Pro Football Hall of Fame fan vote, a first of its kind for any professional sport. Background of Sponsorship
In July 2008, PVH announced an agreement with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy Racing League that designated the IZOD brand as the official apparel sponsor of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights. In this capacity, PVH provides apparel to IRL executives and crew – from pit officials and track flagmen to the on-air broadcast talent and track announcers. This exclusive collection was inspired by the uniquely American heritage of the IndyCar Series and designed to address the performance needs of the IRL and IMS staff.
Prior to the start of the 2009 season, as a natural extension of the sponsorship, IZOD introduced an IZOD/INDY vintage clothing line commemorating the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Centennial Era. The collection was launched initially at select Macy's stores nationwide and was supported by a national advertising campaign that included an IZOD/INDY themed 30-second spot shown during all nationally televised ABC and VERSUS IndyCar Series race broadcasts, as well as through additional spot broadcast purchases and in movie theaters across the country. The media plan also included print advertisements that appeared in Sports Illustrated
and ESPN The Magazine
and on high-profile billboards in New York City's Times Square and Toronto. The advertisements featured IZOD-sponsored 2008 Watkins Glen winner and 2008 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Available in March 2010, IZOD has created a new "Winning Series" sportswear collection, inspired by the historic INDY 500 "Winning Car Series" including the first Indianapolis 500 winner, the 1911 Marmon Wasp, along with the 1939-'40 Maserati and the 1948 Novi. Sponsorship Activation
Throughout the 2009 IndyCar Series season, and to coincide with the series race schedule, in-store events took place at select Macy's stores around the country to further support the launch of the IZOD/INDY sportswear line. The events displayed vintage driver suits, archival photography and one-of-a-kind cars on loan from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum and were highlighted by both legendary and current driver appearances.
In one such event, at the Macy's Herald Square flagship store in New York, the entire field of 33 starting drivers of the 2009 Indianapolis 500 posed for a photograph on a closed Broadway in front of display windows showcasing winning cars from nearly every decade of Indy racing.
Promotional activities for the IZOD/INDY sportswear collection included a text messaging and Web-based national sweepstakes hosted at macys.com/izod. The grand prize was an all-inclusive package for four to the 2009 Indianapolis 500.
Full details of the announcement, including comments from the news conference, to follow.