IPS: IRL: Licensing brought in-house,

Indy Racing League Brings Licensing In-House; Three New Licensees Announced INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, March 16, 2004 -- The Indy Racing League marketing department has brought the licensing of the League, IRL IndyCar® Series, IRL Menards Infiniti...

Indy Racing League Brings Licensing In-House;
Three New Licensees Announced

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, March 16, 2004 -- The Indy Racing League marketing department has brought the licensing of the League, IRL IndyCar® Series, IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series and their respective teams in-house with a dedicated licensing division.

The results of this new focus are already being felt with the addition of three new licensees for the 2004 season: Pacific Trading Cards, Victory Wheels and American Grand Prix.

Pacific Trading Cards, Inc., is one of the leading manufacturers of sports and non-sports trading cards in the world. Plans are for the initial product to be in-market for the Indianapolis 500 in May. The sets will feature both event-used and autograph elements.

"This marks the debut of the IRL in the trading card category and presents Pacific an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of an exciting product," said Jeffrey Morris, vice president of marketing for Pacific Trading Cards. "The Pacific Indy Racing trading card set will mark the first time in almost a decade that race fans and collectors have had an opportunity to collect cards of open-wheel drivers and teams."

Victory Wheels, Inc., headquartered in Chicago, will be manufacturing an exclusive IRL Logo line of "after market" wheels and hubcaps. The custom wheels and hubcaps, which will be available in sizes ranging from 13-26 inches, are of top quality with state-of-the-art graphic imaging and will be available shortly in mass distribution.

"We look forward to offering a driver-signature line of wheel products to the many dedicated fans of the Indy Racing League," said Don Culver, CEO of Victory Wheels.

Grand Prix, Inc., a media solutions company based in Malibu, Calif., will introduce event discs, which gives fans access to entertainment content that provides exciting insight into the Indy Racing League. With Internet connectivity and links to sponsor sites, IRL fans will be able to get updates on all their favorite drivers and races.

"AGP is excited at the opportunity to work with the Indy Racing League, tracks and event sponsors and offer a direct delivery tool to race attendees," said Wayne Gears, president of American Grand Prix. "Event discs will allow fans to keep an event memento while better familiarizing themselves with the event, Indy Racing League drivers and teams and offer the sponsor continuing brand exposure."

The IRL licensing division is led by Molly Palmatier, whose primary focus will be to partner with teams, drivers, sponsors and licensees to help identify new initiatives that will take the Indy Racing League and its teams and drivers to a new level.

Palmatier joined the Indy Racing League from the Walt Disney Company, where she played a major role in the development of Disney Princess -- one of the hottest girls' properties -- at retail outlets such as Target and KMart. Prior to Disney, Palmatier served as retail development director at Fox Kids helping Power Rangers remain on top in the boys' action figure world.

"As the Indy Racing League embarks on its ninth season, we are gearing up for another year of growth, momentum and thrilling close competition," said Bill Long, vice president of marketing for the Indy Racing League. "The 2003 season brought a significant increase in merchandise demand and growth with the addition of the Indy Racing League Fan Experience and The Indy Racing Gear tent. The addition of a dedicated licensing initiative is further example to the League's commitment to growing brand awareness for our drivers, teams and sponsors."

Prior to this dedicated licensing focus, the Indy Racing League and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway combined licensing efforts. In the past 18 months, shared departments between the League and Speedway in marketing, sales, business development, client services and public relations have been split with dedicated employees now solely focused on the league's efforts in these areas.

"This new relationship, which includes our drivers and teams, is part of the League's initiatives to create greater exposure for Indy Racing League drivers," said Ken Ungar, senior vice president of business affairs for the Indy Racing League. ***

The 2004 IRL IndyCar Series season continues with the Copper World Indy 200 at 4 p.m. (EST) on March 21 at Phoenix International Raceway. The race will be broadcast live on ABC and the IMS Radio Network. The Menards Infiniti Pro Series Phoenix 100 will take place at 2:45 p.m. on March 20. The race will be broadcast by ESPN2 on a tape-delayed basis on March 25.

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Series IndyCar , Indy Lights