Hill and Knowlton Named PR and Marketing Partner

GLENDORA, Calif. National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Executive Vice President and General Manager, Tom Compton announced on March 19th the appointment of Hill and Knowlton, Inc. (H&K) as the sanctioning body's public relations and sports...

GLENDORA, Calif. National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Executive Vice President and General Manager, Tom Compton announced on March 19th the appointment of Hill and Knowlton, Inc. (H&K) as the sanctioning body's public relations and sports marketing agency of record. The move is the first in a series of integrated communications and marketing initiatives to be undertaken by the NHRA as part of a new, aggressive three-year plan to maximize the marketability, sponsorship value and growth of drag racing leading up to and beyond the NHRA's 50th Anniversary season in 2001. "From our first meeting it was clear that Hill and Knowlton shares our vision for NHRA drag racing's potential," said Compton. "More importantly, they have the expertise, relationships and track record of success required to help us realize the potential sooner rather than later." "This and other strategic upgrades to be revealed over the course of the next three years will tangibly demonstrate our commitment to build the NHRA brand, broaden the exposure of our stars and increase an already solid base of fans, sponsors and grassroots participation," said NHRA Vice President of Marketing, Gary Darcy. "Other positive steps will be announced in the coming weeks, including the addition of key NHRA personnel and the retention of additional strategic marketing partners." Headquartered in New York City, H&K is the world's second largest public relations and public affairs firms, with 54 wholly-owned offices in 27 countries. The firm's NHRA business will be serviced primarily out of the Los Angeles and Irvine offices, where its high-powered global sports marketing practice is based. Hill and Knowlton provides sports marketing, public relations and sponsorship management support for such distinguished sporting clientele as the PGA of America, baseball superstar Mark McGwire, Mazda, Easton, "Car and Driver" magazine, Tournament of Roses Committee, Athens 2004 Olympic Bid Committee, Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) and International Tennis Federation (ITF). Since January, in addition to the NHRA business, the firm was awarded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) crisis assignment, title sponsorship support of Mazda's Michael Douglas & Friends celebrity golf event and the Mazda Truck AMA Motorcross Series, and the Eli Broad-Ed Roski New Coliseum Partners effort to land an NFL expansion team in Los Angeles. Compton emphasized that Hill and Knowlton was brought on board to broaden the scope of the NHRA's overall effort and to strengthen the NHRA's long-term marketing and communications efforts. "What we like most about H&K is that they are bottom-line oriented, and have provided solutions to business challenges for athletes, sponsors, events and sports federations. We're looking for them to help us position and grow the sport for the next millennium." "We are honored to join the NHRA team and represent the sport and the original American pastime of drag racing," said John Eckel, senior managing director and global director of H&K Sports. "The NHRA offers fans of all ages the total sports and entertainment package -- explosive action, head-to-head competition, direct access to top stars and a 'wow!' factor unrivaled in sports. It's a tremendous entertainment value and our collective aim is to aggressively ensure that more fans and sponsors experience that value from now through the NHRA's 50th Anniversary season in 2001." Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., the NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. It presents 22 national events through its NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. The NHRA boasts 85,000 members nationwide and 142 member tracks. Throughout the NHRA season, nearly 45,000 licensed competitors compete in almost 5,000 member-track events. The NHRA-sanctioned sportsman and bracket racing series' provide competition opportunities for drivers of all levels. The NHRA develops the stars of tomorrow by offering the Federal Mogul Drag Racing Series, Sears Craftsman E.T. Racing Series and the Street Legal Program. The NHRA also offers the Jr. Drag Racing Series for youths ages eight to sixteen.

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Series Automotive , NHRA