One month after losing their chief sponsor, organizers of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg have signed a multiyear deal with the Firestone tire company to be the title sponsor of the city's IndyCar race.
The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is scheduled to take place March 28-30, the first event of the IndyCar Series. Organizers declined to divulge details of the deal but praised the tire company, which has been the official tire sponsor of the race series for the past nine years.
“I can't say how great it is that Firestone recognized the value of this race and stepped forward,” said Tim Ramsberger, the race president.
Honda, the race's title sponsor for the past nine years, pulled out last month, leaving organizers scrambling to find a replacement.
The deal between race promoter Green Savoree of St. Petersburg and Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, which owns Firestone, took almost a month to put together, Ramsberger said.
“Motorsports is an integral part of the Firestone brand marketing efforts, and the entitlement sponsorship of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg aligns perfectly with our plans,” said Lisa Boggs, director of Bridgestone Americas Motorsports, in a statement.
“Our commitment to the race is a reflection of our longstanding relationship with Green Savoree and the terrific St. Petersburg community and fans.”
The race, which is run on a 1.8-mile circuit along the waterfront downtown, is scheduled to be televised on ABC.
“That will generate several millions dollars worth of exposure for the community and the sponsor,” Ramsberger said.
General public tickets for the 2014 race go on sale Dec. 1.