Verizon Joins NASCAR Nation, Eyes New Channel

Verizon/NASCARThe ultimate prize for NASCAR racing may be the Sprint Cup. But that has not kept other telecom companies from muscling their own way into the sport. Following its acquisition of regional carrier Alltel wireless, Verizon Wireless is making its first foray into the NASCAR game via primary sponsorship of Justin Allgaier's No. 12 Dodge Charger.

The agreement with Penske Racing, which also includes associate sponsorship of two cars in the Indy open-wheel racing league, came about after Verizon Wireless acquired Alltel, which had a nine-year agreement with Penske Racing.

As part of its foray into racing, Verizon Wireless is also setting up a new channel on its V Cast video subscription service. Through the channel, racing fans will be able to get behind-the-scenes interviews with drivers, recaps of races, highlights and other racing information. The company plans to have wrapped vehicles emblazoned with the Verizon Championship logo at the Daytona 500 as well as hospitality tents and interactive activities touting Verizon Wireless.



"Customers who are fans of racing will have access to their favorite sport like never before," said Verizon Wireless chief marketing officer Mike Lanman in a statement. "And, because V Cast is always evolving, we look forward to providing opportunity for both Verizon Wireless and Penske Racing and, ultimately, customers."

Details of the program were not immediately available, but a company representative said it focuses on more than just Verizon-sponsored drivers and would honor its competitor's title sponsorship.

Verizon Wireless completed its $28 billion acquisition of Alltel on Jan. 9, making it the country's largest wireless carrier. Verizon has said it will begin rebranding efforts in Alltel markets in the second quarter of 2009.

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