CART ups spending into the millions in race for sponsors, fans

DETROIT: Locked in an ongoing battle for fans, sponsors and racers with the rival Indy Racing League, Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) has decided to push its PR spending into the millions of dollars.

DETROIT: Locked in an ongoing battle for fans, sponsors and racers with the rival Indy Racing League, Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) has decided to push its PR spending into the millions of dollars.

DETROIT: Locked in an ongoing battle for fans, sponsors and racers

with the rival Indy Racing League, Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART)

has decided to push its PR spending into the millions of dollars.



The effort includes doubling its internal PR staff and taking on eight

new outside agencies to handle grass-roots media relations in the 17

North American markets where CART holds races. New York-based sports

specialists Alan Taylor Communications remains CART’s agency of

record.



Internally, CART recently hired a director of broadcast PR and is

looking for an Internet PR manager, a manager of TV PR and a print PR

coordinator.



’We needed to step back and see how we could do a more comprehensive and

grass-roots effort with PR,’ said Ronald G. Richards, CART VP of

communications.



The agencies will do year-round media relations in their markets, trying

to keep the organization top-of-mind with local sportswriters and

broadcasters.



In the past, CART PR largely revolved around its races in specific

cities - when no race was taking place, little PR was being done.



CART races last year attracted about 2.5 million fans, but NASCAR

clearly did a better job of growing its fan base. The ongoing feud

between CART and the Indy Racing League has not only driven fans away,

according to Richards, but also created intense competition for

sponsorship dollars and TV ratings.



While Richards wouldn’t specify planned PR spending this year, Richards

acknowledged it will reach ’into seven figures, well over dollars 1

million.’



The agencies hired by CART, in addition to Alan Taylor, are: O’Connell &

Goldberg (Miami), John Bailey & Associates (Detroit), Clary

Communications (Columbus, OH), The Eventors (Chicago), Gilbreath

Communications (Houston), Jeff Sherman Communications (Milwaukee), Kevin

Wilkerson Public Relations (Los Angeles) and Todd Myers Communications

(Seattle).



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