Anachel expands communications role with Nascar

LOS ANGELES: NASCAR has restructured its relationship with PR firm Anachel Communications, which now will focus solely on strategic business and media relations plans.

LOS ANGELES: NASCAR has restructured its relationship with PR firm Anachel Communications, which now will focus solely on strategic business and media relations plans.

In its previous role, Anachel also handled PR for its new media division, where the company has relationships with Turner Sports Interactive, HDNet, and AOL, among others. PRWeek learned the company was reviewing its LA agency business in December 2004.

Ramsey Poston, managing director of consumer communications at Nascar, referred all questions to the press release, but said that no decision had been made on how the company would handle PR for its new media division in the future.

Carrie Gerlach-Cecil, president and founder of Anachel Communications, would not disclose the amount of the account, but said that Anachel signed an annual contract with Nascar, as it does with all of its clients. Gerlach-Cecil leads a team of three people, and said she does not expect the new arrangement to affect personnel.

The agency will work alongside Nascar's senior management team on media strategy for broadcasting, media, entertainment, and other businesses. She said the firm would report to VP of broadcasting and new media Dick Glover, SVP Paul Brooks, and the senior management team in Daytona.

Anachel has worked with Nascar since it consolidated its broadcast rights and opened the NDE office in Los Angeles in 2001. The agency has fostered relationships with Hollywood and celebrities, such as Ben Affleck's appointment as the 2004 Daytona 500 Grand Marshal. It has also placed the brand in upcoming movies, such as Herbie: Fully Loaded, which stars Lindsay Lohan and features NASCAR drivers such as Rusty Wallace and Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Talladega Nights, which stars Will Ferrell as a driver.

"The sport has so much room to grow in geography, diversity, and entertainment [options]," Gerlach-Cecil said. "They're committed to take the sport to the mainstream without losing its authenticity [by] partnering with companies that are good for the sport."

Anachel is expected to support communications efforts around a likely renegotiation of Nascar's TV contact, which the Los Angeles Times reported was worth $2.4 billion and is due to expire in 2006.

The company will also continue to work with Alan Taylor, its primary PR firm in charge of motor sports and top 20 market outreach, as well as select national opportunities. Powell Tate will continue to handle NASCAR issues management.

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