Indy closing in on sponsorship deal with Crown Royal

Anthony Schoettle
Special to Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
(July 13, 2011)

Sources are beginning to bubble that Crown Royal is ready to sign a deal to become the title sponsor of the Brickyard 400. It's rumored to be a multiyear deal starting in 2012.

Don't be surprised if Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Jeff Belskus along with Crown Royal honchos make an announcement at this year's race.

And, from what I am gathering, it's no small deal.

It's bigger than the Allstate title sponsorship deal for the race, which was one of the bigger title deals in NASCAR. Allstate ended its relationship with the Brickyard 400 in 2009.

And stunningly, the Crown Royal deal, from what I'm hearing, is financially bigger than any other current NASCAR title sponsorship deal. Yes, that means bigger than the Coca-Cola 600 and Irwin Tools Night Race ( Bristol ) deals.

In a soft economy, when the Brickyard 400's attendance has wavered, IMS officials are going to get around $1.5 million annually for the title sponsorship of its race, sources are whispering.
Motorsports sources aren't as surprised as race fans might think.

Despite complaints from some fans that the IMS isn't suited for stock car racing, apparently sponsors still find big-time value in being affiliated with the race and the venue.
The addition of Nationwide Series and sports car races during the Brickyard 400 weekend starting in 2012 should only enhance the Speedway 's opportunities to lure new sponsors.
Anthony Schoettle is a reporter for the Indianapolis Business Journal, a sister publication of Sporting News.