Bridgestone signs CART sponsorship deal

The Bridgestone tire company has become the "presenting" sponsor of the CART series in the United States of America. Bridgestone replaces Federal Express, which announced it is pulling out of the series recently. The company says that it intends to use the program to sell street tires to the public as well as racing tires and to increase brand awareness around the world, mainly in the Americas

"If you look at CART demographics," said CART chief executive Chris Pook, "you see a remarkable alignment between the people who come to races and who follow our series and the people who buy Bridgestone tires."

The company has been involved in CART since 1991 and is the sole tire supplier next year. It is fairly clear in the circumstances that Bridgestone was offered a very good deal by CART to give the right impression about the series. This is why the term "presenting sponsor" has been used rather than the normal "title sponsor" expression.

"A presenting sponsor clearly is not going to be required to invest the same amount in fee into the series as a title sponsor would," said Pook. "Obviously, we would love to have a series sponsor. We greatly appreciate the relationship with FedEx. But we will take one step at a time in this building block process."

Bridgestone spokesman Al Speyer said: "Our arrangement here has left the door open for CART to get a title sponsor, other associate sponsors, as they may be, and nothing in our arrangement precludes CART from getting other people. In fact, we would like them to have a full title sponsor, particularly a title sponsor that we could co-promote with, as well, to maximize our marketing efforts with those of any other title sponsor involved, and the series itself."

The deal is for one year only at the moment.

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Stories:: NOVEMBER 3, 2002