- '100 Days of Indy' to debut in spring
- Each Leaders Circle entrant to lose between US$60k-US$100k in budget
US open wheel series IndyCar is set to increase its overall spend on marketing to 'US$17 million' for the 2023 season.
Speaking to NBC Sports, Roger Penske, owner of the North American racing series, confirmed the more focused marketing drive for this season.
“It’s a very comprehensive marketing and PR program that is being put together this year as we head into [St. Petersburg] to begin the season on 5th March,” Penske told NBC Sports.
“We’ll be up over 60 per cent in spend, and US$17 million of that will be going into our marketing effort. A big piece of that will be spent early on.”
The report reveals that IndyCar teams will also help to invest some of this increased marketing budget. The amount that each Leaders Circle entrant receives 'will be reduced between US$60,000 and US$100,000 per car'.
According to team owner Bobby Rahal, these payments usually fluctuate anyway, so he's happy with the direction if it means there will be returns later.
“I get it, we are all partners in this thing,” Rahal told NBC Sports. “If it is going to move the needle on IndyCar higher and higher, the return will come. I’m OK with it.
“It’s an investment and that is the way you have to look at it. Everybody gets it, or most everybody. If it moves the needle forward, then it is money well spent. If it grows the sport, the whole sport benefits.”
The first segment of this marketing push will be visible in the lead up to this year's Indianapolis 500.
Produced by Penske Entertainment and Vice Media Group, '100 Days of Indy' will take fans behind the scenes as drivers prepare for the biggest race in IndyCar. It will air on the CW Network in spring 2023.
With Formula One increasing its push into the US, there have been murmurs of discontent in the IndyCar paddock that not enough is being done to drive the American open wheel series forward in the face of this competition.
IndyCar has also come in for criticism for not doing enough to promote its drivers when they take part in other series, such as in Formula One practice sessions.
Formula One is certain to grab most of the attention this year, especially with the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix. However, consistent and concerted messaging from IndyCar will allow it to cement itself in the narrative.
The substantial spend on marketing this year shows that the series is taking things seriously, and the arguably better racing product compared to Formula One will continue to keep the audience interested beyond the first point of contact.
Whether The CW is the right network to air its docuseries remains to be seen, but this represents the first step of many.