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
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
’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
The agencies will do year-round media relations in their markets, trying
to keep the organization top-of-mind with local sportswriters and
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
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