IndyCar has ended its search for a new title sponsor after confirming a multi-year deal with NTT, a global information technology and communications company.
The partnership will see the Japan-based firm replace Verizon as the naming partner of North America’s premier open-wheel racing series, which will now be known as the NTT IndyCar Series.
In a deal announced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, NTT will also become the official technology partner of IndyCar, the IndyCar Series, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500.
The two parties will collaborate on a number of digital innovations for IndyCar and its events, including the development of the sanctioning body’s mobile app and the integration of NTT’s smart platform at IndyCar race venues in an attempt to up fan engagement.
The length and financial terms of the deal were not officially disclosed, but Forbes reports that the contract will run for between three to five years, with NTT paying similar to what Verizon offered in its final year.
“Having a strong technology partner is critically important to IndyCar’s continued growth, so we are thrilled to welcome NTT as our new title sponsor,” said Mark Miles, president and chief executive of IndyCar owners Hulman & Company. “IndyCar’s rise in popularity is a testament to the fact that we’ve made the sport as accessible as possible to our fans, and we plan to continue in that mission.
“We have a history with NTT through NTT Data’s involvement in the sport with Chip Ganassi Racing. We know this partnership will help us attract the next generation of fans to what remains the most competitive racing program on the planet.”
IndyCar had more than a year to secure a new title sponsor after Verizon announced in October 2017 that it would part ways with the series at the end of last season. However, according to ESPN, IndyCar did not open talks with NTT until September, with the deal being completed in approximately three months.
“NTT is proud to be associated with IndyCar and accelerate the future of smart racing,” added Jun Sawada, president and chief executive of NTT. “Technological innovations have the potential to change the sport and fan experience drastically.
“Based on our lengthy and successful experience, including work in mobile applications, analytics and user experience, we will help to create the next generation of fans globally who aspire to enjoy racing through a more digital experience with IndyCar.”
NTT’s title sponsorship will commence with the 2019 IndyCar season, which will feature 17 races, starting with the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg on 10th March.