EXCERPTS FROM TELECONFERENCE ANNOUNCING PEP BOYS' TITLE SPONSORSHIP OF THE INDY RACING LEAGUE Jan. 20, 1998, Indianapolis OPENING STATEMENTS TONY GEORGE (Indy Racing League founder): "As we get ready to launch our third season this ...
EXCERPTS FROM TELECONFERENCE ANNOUNCING PEP BOYS' TITLE SPONSORSHIP OF THE INDY RACING LEAGUE Jan. 20, 1998, Indianapolis
TONY GEORGE (Indy Racing League founder): "As we get ready to launch our third season this weekend at the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway Presented by Aurora, this announcement today is a nice preface to the exciting things happening in the Indy Racing League. We've seen great things happen this year - more races, more drivers and more sponsors as we head into Orlando. We knew it would take awhile to build the series to the point where we could attract a series sponsor. We have arrived at that point in time right on schedule, according to my watch. I thought it would take about three years. Today's announcement reconciles that we're right on schedule. We look forward to making the Pep Boys Indy Racing League the top open-wheel series in the world, especially the top open-wheel oval series."
RICK HAMMILL (Pep Boys vice president of advertising): "As America's premier automotive aftermarket parts and service chain, Pep Boys is proud to become the series sponsor of the Indy Racing League. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation values qualities that are important to Pep Boys. The sponsorship provides us with tremendous exposure, especially with the strong TV package that the series has this year. The Pep Boys IRL series races are in 10 of the top 30 U.S. markets, and those are many of the Pep Boys' top markets. Because motorsports is by far the leading spectator sport in America, it made perfect sense for us to get involved at this time. The series' races will be televised into more than 100 million American homes, and we wanted to tap into that and be a part of that. The media package is an excellent fit for us."
LEO MEHL (IRL executive director): "On behalf of all Pep Boys IRL competitors, teams, drivers, officials and sponsors, we want to welcome the Pep Boys. We couldn't have found a better partner. We're both in the automotive business, and Pep Boys is such a dynamic company. This is a major step with the Pep Boys Indy Racing League. This will help our teams attract more sponsorship."
QUESTIONS FROM MEDIA PANEL
(How will Pep Boys contribute to the IRL besides "The Pep Boys Million" award to the championship-winning team and owner?)
RICK HAMMILL: "We're still formulating our programs, as this deal came about rather quickly. But we have contributed substantial amounts of money to the IRL purse at every race and substantial amounts of promotional dollars to the IRL."
(What does the announcement of Pep Boys as the title sponsor mean to the IRL?)
TONY GEORGE: "It's something we've set our sights on from the outset, developing the series to the point where corporate America would open its arms to us. We're mutually working together to take the Pep Boys Indy Racing League to the next level. The year we had in 1997 is what took us to this point."
(Why did Pep Boys decide to get involved in motorsports now, and why with the Indy Racing League?)
RICK HAMMILL: "We now have a title sponsorship position with the premier motorsports corporation, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation. Tony (George) has offered us a tremendous opportunity with his company. This is a once-in-a-lifetime association."
(How long is the association between Pep Boys and the Indy Racing League?)
RICK HAMMILL: "The initial period is for five years, and we hope longer."
(Was it important for the IRL to become affiliated with a sponsor that would make the league a priority in its marketing and promotional plans?)
LEO MEHL: "Pep Boys is our number-one consideration for the future in terms of promotion, and we wanted someone who would consider us number one."
(Will this series sponsorship allow Pep Boys to help the IRL attract more sponsors because of possible deals involving store shelf-space trades?)
RICK HAMMILL: "The reason we came to this partnership wasn't for tradeoff. We felt that with the package that was presented to us, it was about time that Pep Boys got involved in the excitement of this industry. We're very excited about this. When you walk into the more than 700 Pep Boys' stores, you'll see logos of products that are on all of the cars in this series. It's a natural fit for us. I would not be surprised that when I get back to my office in Philadelphia that I'll have phone calls from companies wanting to get involved. The association with such a quality organization like the Indy Racing League, they will want to be a part of that."
(This is Pep Boys' first sponsorship on this level. Is the company confident about its ability to market this association to its benefit?)
RICK HAMMILL: "Let me answer that by asking you this question: Do you think the Indianapolis 500 knows how to promote racing? The Indianapolis 500 has been around since 1911. If anyone knows how to do that, I would say the Indianapolis Motor Speedway knows how to do that. Pep Boys has been around since 1921. We've been around that long for one reason: We offer value and quality products to our customers. We're confident that we can do it."
(What are Pep Boys' promotional plans for the Indianapolis 500?)
RICK HAMMILL: "As league sponsor, that will be a major involvement. There's no question that the Indianapolis 500 is the premier event in the world. That was part of the attraction. But Pep Boys has stores in more places than Indianapolis, and we're going to work in all of the markets."
(What does Pep Boys' sponsorship mean to drivers and team owners?)
EDDIE CHEEVER (Owner and driver, Team Cheever): "The involvement of Pep Boys gives you confidence. We are the premier open-wheel series in the world. I'm very proud to be here today. I would like to thank them for coming on board. As a driver and owner, I'm extremely happy. This Pep Boys' partnership with the Indy Racing League allows us to grow. I think as the series continues to grow, it will be easier for our teams to find sponsorship with the involvement of a company like Pep Boys."