IZOD leaving IndyCar as title sponsor after 2013 season

Jonathan Ferrey

IndyCar will seek a new title sponsor for the IndyCar Series after IZOD announced that it would not return after the 2013 season.

IZOD will not return as title sponsor for the IndyCar Series next season both sides announced on Friday afternoon in a statement, ending a relationship that has lasted six seasons in a variety of different roles.

What began as an exciting and vigorous partnership has sizzled for the past few seasons as IZOD has diminished the amount of extra activation they had delivered at the start of the commitment. The clothing brand at one point had aggressively marketed drivers as a cornerstone of television campaigns and tossed house parties at select races -- but both have vanished in recent seasons. IZOD met the contractual commitments of its contract and both sides ultimately decided to go in a different direction.

"We are proud of our partnership with IZOD over the past six years and we're grateful to PVH Corp., owner of the IZOD brand, for its support, creativity and vision," Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., parent company of IndyCar said in a statement.

"Circumstances change and now we're seeking new partnerships with brands looking to align with the fastest, most versatile form of racing. We are combining and strengthening our commercial functions at INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which will allow us to more aggressively pursue new opportunities for our sport."

IZOD first joined the IndyCar Series in 2008 as the official apparel provider and quickly became the entitlement sponsor by 2010.

"After an exciting relationship that has been as enjoyable and fast-paced as IndyCar itself, Phillip Van Heusen Corp. has made the decision to not continue IZOD's title sponsorship with IndyCar beyond the 2013 season," Mike Kelly, Executive Vice President of PVH Marketing said.

"As we and our retail partners shift the IZOD brand's product focus, we need to shift our marketing spend to complement it. We would like to thank the IndyCar community, from the amazing fans, to the incredible drivers, to the entire series, for their partnership. We wish the series all the best and we look forward to finishing out the 2013 season with much success. "

Now IndyCar will look to find a new entitlement partner and promises a dynamic product to be associated with.

IndyCar has enjoyed one of its most competitive and exciting seasons to date, featuring 10 different winners, nearly split evenly between the two engine manufacturers and enjoyed the coronation of one of the most beloved Indianapolis 500 winners of all-time in Tony Kanaan.

Now IndyCar and Miles will look towards the future, one filled with aerodynamic enhancements, stronger fields and more diverse races. That could begin with a new title sponsor for the coming seasons.

"Our on-track competition is at an all-time high and IndyCar offers a unique activation platform with brand attributes of speed, technology and innovation. With changes we've made to our overall company structure and the master facility plan underway at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, we're heading into discussions with some very creative opportunities," Miles added.

How will you remember the partnership between IZOD and the IndyCar Series? Tell us in the comments section below.

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