Joe Gibbs Racing announces partnership

STARTER BRAND ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH JOE GIBBS RACING Athletic Footwear and Apparel Brand To Use 2007 NASCAR Season as "Living Laboratory" To Develop Innovative Footwear and Equipment Solutions for the Sport's Drivers and Crews CONCORD,...


Athletic Footwear and Apparel Brand To Use 2007 NASCAR Season as "Living Laboratory" To Develop Innovative Footwear and Equipment Solutions for the Sport's Drivers and Crews

CONCORD, N.C., - January 24, 2007 - Starter, a leader in developing licensed and innovative team apparel and footwear, formally announced a partnership today with Joe Gibbs Racing to develop footwear and apparel solutions for the NASCAR team's crews and drivers.

The partnership is designed to provide a "Living Laboratory" for Starter to apply its experience working with world-class athletes in other sports to the needs of the drivers and crews of Joe Gibbs Racing's teams in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series. Starter and its parent company Nike Inc. already provide 70 percent of the footwear worn by NASCAR crews, but this partnership signals a deepening of the company's commitment to the sport.

"Starter believes NASCAR's drivers and crews are serious athletes, requiring specialized footwear, apparel and equipment to meet the demanding needs of their sport," said Lee Bird, president subsidiaries, Nike Inc. "By approaching the sport from this perspective, Starter will create innovative new products, providing a competitive advantage while maintaining strong consumer appeal."

Starter is partnering with Motorsports Authentics, the leading consumer apparel provider in NASCAR, to build a line of merchandise for trackside sales and other distribution channels, providing consumers with the closest experience possible to being part of the team.

"This relationship is about connecting the fans to their driver and to the teams in a meaningful, authentic and intimate way. It is born out of a respect for the drivers as athletes and for the pit crew as a critical component of team success. It's about sharing the passion with the fan and making it accessible to them. The objectives of Joe Gibbs Racing, Starter, NASCAR and Motorsports Authentics for this business are aligned. Starter has always been about the fan. That is our shared focus. We are equally obsessed with doing what's right and changing the model so we share the experience on a personal level and in an authentic way with the fan." said Ruth Crowley, president, Motorsports Authentics.

"Starter's goal is to become the athletic performance footwear and apparel brand synonymous with NASCAR, in the same way other Nike Inc. brands are in other sports," said Bird. "NASCAR will become a pillar of Starter's marketing and product development initiatives in 2007 and beyond. The Joe Gibbs Racing relationship will provide a natural bridge from the brand's traditional sports heritage to NASCAR's brand of athleticism."

"We are going to work closely with Starter's product engineers to develop innovative apparel and footwear solutions that will provide our drivers and crews a competitive advantage over other NASCAR teams," said J.D. Gibbs, president, Joe Gibbs Racing. "Starter's values closely align with our own and we look forward to collaborating as our teams strive for future NASCAR championships."

"Just as we do in other sports, Starter will work closely with the drivers and crews to understand their specific needs and begin to build products that allow these great athletes to perform at optimal levels," said Bird. "Starter's mission is not to improve; it is to revolutionize equipment, apparel and footwear in NASCAR."

The company's product development and marketing efforts will highlight the athleticism, hard work and grit of the entire NASCAR team. The brand is working to develop a complete head-to-toe product experience that elevates the race-day performance of every athlete on the team. Starter believes innovation in footwear and apparel designed to unleash the athleticism of the crews and drivers could be the last untouched variable that determines whether a team wins or loses.

Starter, which grew to prominence in the 1980s with its line of Starter athletic jackets, is aggressively building its presence in NASCAR by delivering performance apparel and footwear products valued for all consumers. Among the first products to be introduced in 2007 is an authentic race-day jacket to be worn by Nos. 20, 18 and 11 Nextel Cup teams. All products will meet a mandate of expressive, authentic, cool, reliable, crafted and durable performance, while utilizing the latest fabric and technology advancements over the past few years.

-credit: jgr

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