IndyCar Series Races Into 2019 With NTT As New Title, Official Tech Partner
Tuesday, January 15, 2019 at 06:40PM
NYSportsJournalism.com in Auto Racing, IndyCar, IndyCar Series, NTT, auto racing, sports marketing

By Barry Janoff

January 15, 2019: Calling it a “perfect relationship” that would build on tech innovations and attract the next generation of fans, IndyCar has signed a multi-year deal naming NTT, a Japan-based global information technology and communications firm, as its new IndyCar Series title sponsor.

The deal also names NTT (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone) as the official technology partner of IndyCar, the IndyCar Series, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 and Nascar’s the Brickyard 400.

Hulman & Company, owns IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

NTT, which has been involved with IndyCar since 2012, replaces Verizon, which had been title sponsor since 2014 (having taken over from Izod).

Financial terms were not shared. Industry analysts put the deal at 3-5 years and above what Verizon had been paying, about $10 million annually.

Verizon disclosed last year that 2018 would be its last season as IndyCar title sponsor.

Also last year, NBC Sports signed a three-year deal as the sole rights holder for IndyCar Series U.S. broadcasts, beginning this year.

The 2019 NTT IndyCar Series begins March 10 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Fla.).

“NTT is proud to be associated with IndyCar and accelerate the future of smart racing,” Jun Sawada, president and CEO for NTT, said during a media event today (Jan. 15) in Cobo Center as part of the Detroit Auto Show.

“Technological innovations have the potential to change the sport and fan experience drastically."

According to representatives from both sides, this new partnership “aligns IndyCar – the fastest, most versatile motorsports series with a heritage of innovation — with NTT — whose technical expertise will be utilized to activate programs that will benefit fans, the series, teams, commercial partners and race venues”

According to Mark Miles, president and CEO for Hulman & Company, “I think this relationship is perfect. We are a global brand, and when I think about racing, I think we're international, so you think about the team owners, you think about drivers from all over the world.

“I’m sure that was part of how NTT saw us, but we see them as a giant technology and communications company. When I think about the future growth of IndyCar, what's more important than developing technology? It drives our racing, our teams. Everybody in the paddock needs data in usable form to improve.

Miles said that IndyCar takes “50 million data records off the cars in an average two-hour race. To me, that's content. With NTT, we can make that usable and compelling content for fans that will continue to grow the sport and attract younger fans.

“We have a history with NTT through (U.S. subsidiary) NTT DATA’s involvement in the sport with Chip Ganassi Racing. We know this partnership will help us attract the next generation of fans to what remains the most competitive racing program on the planet,” said Miles.

IndyCar said it would partner with NTT to “deliver digital innovations that enhance the fan experience.” These include the evolution of IndyCar’s mobile application and adoption of NTT’s proprietary Smart Platform to support the sport and its venues in delivering better insights into the racing series.

“Based on our lengthy and successful experience, including work in mobile applications, analytics and user experience, we will help IndyCar create the next generation of fans globally who aspire to enjoy racing through a more digital experience,” said Sawada.

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