TMCnet - World's Largest Communications and Technology Community



Sponsors showcase their company at Grand Prix
[April 09, 2007]

Sponsors showcase their company at Grand Prix

(Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA) (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Apr. 9--LONG BEACH -- If corporate spending is being reined in, don't tell companies promoting themselves at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach this weekend.

This year there are 21 pit row suites, where companies pay big money to have a place to entertain clients and employees. That's up from 22 last year. Besides Toyota, the lead sponsor of the event, the number of sponsors rose this year to 22 from 20 last year.

Many say it's the Grand Prix, as well as motorsports, that's gaining a larger audience, thereby attracting more sponsors.

Others credit Grand Prix organizers for expanding the event to six races, and holding concurrent events like extreme sports demonstrations, a lifestyle expo and entertainment.

One industry watcher believes it's a combination of both.

"Companies have clamped down on spending until they can demonstrate that it's worthwhile," said David Carter, a professor of sports business at the University of Southern California. "The days of a corporation just writing a check because they just wanted to be affiliated with a sporting event are long gone." It's not that companies aren't investing in sports events, they are being more picky, Carter said.

"There is still a tremendous amount of money flowing into sports," he said. "What you are seeing is a reallocation of that money to leagues or events that are doing a great job with customer service." Aside from giving sponsors more bang for their buck, Mike Clark, director of marketing for the Grand Prix Association, believes the growth of the Grand Prix has made it a more valuable marketing and advertising tool for companies.

Race officials would not disclose the amounts that sponsors paid for their participation in the event.

"I think we've just built a lot of momentum over the past few years," Clark said. "It's now six events, and we have such a diversity of attractions here. We're attracting a lot of companies that don't necessarily have a lot to do with motor racing, they just see it as a good corporate entertainment event." For Verizon Communications, which signed on as a Grand Prix sponsor for the first time this year, the event is a chance to showcase the company, as well as its newest product.

Fios, Verizon's new Internet and television service delivered through fiber-optic cables, is now being made available to Long Beach and other Southland residents. In doing so, Verizon has pitted itself against local cable providers Charter and Time-Warner. And Verizon is offering bundled packages like its competitors in which customers can get phone, Internet and television in one service.

Verizon will have a booth at the Grand Prix for customers to check out its new services first-hand, as well as play video games and experiment with on-screen programming.

Plopping down cash and services for the privilege of being associated with the Grand Prix -- and to have access to the estimated 180,000 people who attend the annual event over its three days -- was an easy decision, said Verizon spokesman Jon Davies.

"Maybe we're cutting back spending in other areas, and we're allocating dollars to the Grand Prix instead," Davies said. "But we have a little more interest in getting our name out there in a big way and we feel that the Grand Prix is a really good fit for that." Verizon not only paid for name placement, including the rights to place the Verizon logo on one of the pedestrian bridges at the venue, but the company is one of many firms that see value in getting an executive suite.

"Long Beach is the biggest market that we serve in California," Davies said. "Our products are pretty much geared to new, hi-speed technology, and the Grand Prix encompasses those things as well." RediAuto Sport is another new sponsor, and the tiny seven-person manufacturer based in Santa Monica has stretched its budget to be part of the Grand Prix.

"We want to be recognized," said Veronica Verve, a marketing executive for the two-year-old company. "There needs to be awareness built, we can't just let it trickle in.

RediAuto executives have spread the company's Grand Prix involvement to another community, and another race.

On Thursday, four teams of disabled racers will compete against able-bodied teams at NASCAR'S Irwindale Speedway in southern California.

The event includes NASCAR race car rides, food, a charity auction and entertainment.

The main event is the 1st Annual RediAuto Track Challenge. The autocross racing event pits two recently disabled U.S. War Veterans against each other in outfitted race cars to determine who will drive the official Pace Car, which carries the RediAuto logo, for the 2007 Toyota Grand Prix.

The company has a booth at the Lifestyle Expo, and a chalet in Marina Park.

"This is our first trial run and it's expensive," Verve said.

The Grand Prix's venue, with the ocean, the Queen Mary and a developing city in the backdrop, may also have a hand in generating sponsorships and filling executive suites, Carter said.

"The Long Beach Grand Prix always has such a distinct look and feel to it, it has such a great atmosphere, it is the kind of event that people throughout the region look forward to attending," Carter said. "It consistently delivers a great backdrop to watch motorsports, have some fun and maybe conduct a little business." He added, "I think that the trend is that if properties like the Long Beach Grand Prix that can demonstrate value and a return for their sponsorship dollar, they will continue to carry the day." It's not just companies that are filling the executive suites. New to the Grand Prix this year is the Summit Pitlane Club.

For $925 per person, people have access to a fully catered pit row suite, including an open bar, an invitation to a sponsor party and pit lane access.

There were 56 tickets available for the Summit Pitlane Club, which "We sold out of that in November," Clark said.

To see more of the Press-Telegram, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to

Copyright (c) 2007, Press-Telegram, Long Beach, Calif.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.
For reprints, email, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.

[ Back To's Homepage ]

Technology Marketing Corporation

35 Nutmeg Drive Suite 340, Trumbull, Connecticut 06611 USA
Ph: 800-243-6002, 203-852-6800
Fx: 203-866-3326

General comments:
Comments about this site:


© 2019 Technology Marketing Corporation. All rights reserved | Privacy Policy