IRL: Lifetime to Sponsor St. James at Indy

Lifetime's Sponsorship of St. James Reflects Exciting Role Women Are Playing in Pro Sports NEW YORK, May 8 - When asked to name some women's sports, many people first think of ice skating, swimming, field ...

Lifetime's Sponsorship of St. James Reflects Exciting Role Women Are Playing in Pro Sports

NEW YORK, May 8 - When asked to name some women's sports, many people first think of ice skating, swimming, field hockey, golf, tennis and the like. Sports like sailing, basketball, baseball and auto racing aren't usually mentioned in the same breath as more "traditional" women's sports.

The management of Lifetime Television, the popular cable TV network for women, thinks more creatively than many other executives. They always seek to encourage women who are unafraid to tackle nontraditional arenas, and under their direction the network has become affiliated with women participating in several leading-edge sports. Later this month the Lifetime logo will be seen on the car and driving uniform of Lyn St. James at the Indianapolis 500, marking the network's third year in a row of association with St. James's racing efforts.

"We wanted to think outside the box and be affiliated with interesting women doing interesting things," explains Doug McCormick, Lifetime's president and chief executive officer. "That certainly applies to Lyn St. James."

On May 16-17 St. James will attempt to qualify for her seventh Indianapolis 500, the world's largest single-day sporting event. No other woman has been in as many Indy 500s as she. She has built several companies around her racing endeavors and today she not only stands as a perfect example of a woman competing on an equal level with men in what was once a men's-only sport, but she is an inspiration to other women involved in the sport and those who want to become involved.

St. James is far, far more than "just" a driver. This year she is also the entrant of the car she'll drive, the Lifetime Television for Women G-Force Infiniti No. 90. Putting the finances in place for such an effort is a huge undertaking, and St. James has not only accomplished this but she's also organizing the team which is preparing her car for the 500, which will be held on Sunday, May 24. A good finish at Indy will do much to help her attract more funding for the other races on the Pep Boys Indy Racing League schedule.

"I couldn't have done this without the help of companies like Lifetime Television," said St. James gratefully. "I also have to thank Biomet, the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and a host of other companies which are pitching in."

Organizing the Indy 500 effort while still being able to mentally put on a "game face" and get the job done athletically is something that not many men have ever undertaken, but St. James accepts it as just another challenge.

That kind of outlook is what appeals to companies like Lifetime Television, as it reflects the "out-of-the-box" outlook of the women of the '90s.

St. James's sponsorship is a program of Lifetime Sports, a division of the network that features live sporting events, women's sports sponsorships and a women's sports scholarship program.

The first sports sponsorship it became involved in was sailing, supporting America 3, the women's yachting team that raced for the America's Cup in 1994.

In 1995 it was a sponsor of the Colorado Silver Bullets, the all-female pro baseball team. Lifetime also supported USA Basketball's women's national team, which served as the core of the 1996 U.S. Women's Olympic basketball team.

The fourth sport it became associated with was auto racing through St. James.

In addition, Lifetime televises several sports events and programs, including the WNBA on Lifetime on Friday nights during the summer and the documentary series, Breaking Through.

Lifetime Television is dedicated to providing contemporary and informative programming for women. It is available on more than 8,300 cable systems and alternative delivery systems nationwide, serving over 67 million households.

More information on the network, its programs and St. James may be obtained on the Lifetime Online website at www.lifetimetv.com.

The Indianapolis 500 will be broadcast live on ABC and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network beginning at 11 a.m. EDT May 24.

ABC will televise Pole Day live from 1-2 p.m. May 16 and Bubble Day live from 1:30-3 p.m. May 17. ESPN will offer live Pole Day coverage from 2-5:30 p.m. May 16 and live Bubble Day coverage from 5-7 p.m. May 17. ESPN2 will show live Pole Day coverage from 5:30-7 p.m. May 16 and live Bubble Day coverage from 3-5 p.m.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Lyn St. James