Communications firm NTT to become IndyCar's title sponsor from 2019

Global information and communications company NTT will become the IndyCar series' title sponsor from 2019, replacing Verizon

Communications firm NTT to become IndyCar's title sponsor from 2019

Although Verizon's longstanding relationship with Team Penske has been extended as part of a multi-season agreement, its title sponsorship of IndyCar was a five-year deal and came to an end in December.

Dubai-based Emirates airline and former CART sponsor FedEx were among the companies rumoured to replace Verizon.

But NTT Corporation, the Japanese parent company of NTT Data, which is the main sponsor of Ganassi's #10 Indycar, emerged as favourite in the off-season and has now entered into a multi-year agreement to become title sponsor.

It will also become the official technology partner of IndyCar, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis.

NTT is aiming to enhance the fan experience by delivering digital innovations to evolve IndyCar's mobile app and by adopting NTT's proprietary Smart Platform "to support the sport and its venues in delivering better insights into the racing series".

Speaking at the launch of the partnership at Detroit's North American International Auto Show, NTT's president and CEO Jun Sawada said: "NTT is proud to be associated with IndyCar and accelerate the future of smart racing.

"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 IndyCar create the next generation of fans globally who aspire to enjoy racing through a more digital experience."

Mark Miles, president and CEO of the Hulman & Company group that owns IndyCar, said the partnership was "critically important to IndyCar's continued growth".

"We are thrilled to welcome NTT as our new title sponsor," said Miles.

"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 with Chip Ganassi Racing.

"We know this partnership will help us attract the next generation of fans to what remains the most competitive racing programme on the planet."

NTT's companies include NTT Data, NTT Communications, Dimension Data and NTT Security, which generate more than $106billion in annual revenue.

NTT Data began its relationship with Ganassi at the Indianapolis 500 in 2013 on Ryan Briscoe's #8 entry, and started sponsoring the driver full-time the following season.

It became the primary sponsor of Ganassi's #10 car - then driven by Tony Kanaan - in 2015 when Target reduced its main sponsorship of the squad to Scott Dixon's machine, and became more prominent on that car following Target's withdrawal at the end of the '16 until Ganassi secured PNC Bank as a full-time backer for the #9 car last year.

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