Any fan of NASCAR knows the importance of businesses supporting the sport, and arguably no company is more important to its long-term health than the title sponsor: Sprint. Now in the eighth year of their ten-year, $750 million deal, the Kansas-based telecommunications giant is firmly established inside the sport and their latest promotion — The Sprint Summer Showdown presented by HTC EVO 3D – is the latest, innovative example of the level of their integration.
The premise itself is simple enough: Any driver who wins one of the five Sprint Cup Series events between the Brickyard 400, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Irwin Tools Night Race at Thunder Valley (Bristol Motor Speedway) will become a finalist to win the $3 million Sprint Summer Showdown payout on Labor Day Weekend. If one of those eligible wins the Advocare 500, held that Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, then the driver, the driver’s charity and one lucky race fan will each collect $1 million. Fans can enter each week for their chance at the million-dollar prize by picking which driver they believe will win that week’s race at “sprint.com/speed”:http://www.sprint.com/speed/ or by visiting the Sprint Experience display at every Sprint Cup Series event. When they enter, fans will have access to expert picks, driver performance history at each track and more to give them the best chance of producing a winning submission. Fans can even change their picks until the scheduled start time for each event.
Picking the winning driver, of course is only half the battle: just like in racing, fans need a little luck on their side. After each week’s race, one race fan will be randomly chosen from those who correctly picked that week’s winning driver to be a finalist. Each lucky selection, five in all will then enjoy an all-expenses paid trip to Atlanta Motor Speedway and be there in person to see whether his or her driver can win at Atlanta. If that driver claims the Sprint Summer Showdown presented by HTC EVO 3D, the fan will win $1 million, along with their driver. And here’s the best part: Sprint will pony up an additional million dollars to be donated to the driver’s charity of choice. It’s a win-win for everyone involved: the drivers, the fans, and the sport’s philanthropic efforts.
“Giving these Sprint Cup drivers the opportunity to win a million for their charity, a million to change the life of a fan, and — oh, by the way — a million for their own wallet, will definitely ratchet up the on-track excitement,” said Tim Considine, director of sports marketing for Sprint. “Add to that the hunt for those Chase for the Sprint Cup wild-card positions and race fans will not want to miss a lap of the action.”
Two weeks into the showdown period, already qualified to date are Paul Menard (Brickyard 400) and Brad Keselowski (Good Sam RV Insurance 500 at Pocono). Three more drivers will be added to the mix following the upcoming trio of races at Watkins Glen (Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen), Michigan (Pure Michigan 400) and Bristol (Irwin Tools Night Race). So far, it’s been an exceptional start to the promotion, both winning drivers persevering through tough circumstances to win: Menard held off a hard-charging Jeff Gordon for his first career victory, despite running on fumes with an empty gas tank while Keselowski held off all challengers despite a broken ankle. Now, they have the added bonus of pocketing some extra cash while using the opportunity to help others through that sizable $1 million charity bonus.
“It’s always great to win, but to make a difference in the lives of other people by doing so is why I’m excited about the Sprint Summer Showdown,” said Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion. “The fans are what make this sport, and helping charities accomplish their goals is extremely important to me. I’m hoping I’m the guy that gets to hand over $1 million to some lucky fan and to charity. I’ll do everything I can to make it happen.”
Considine said the idea for the Sprint Summer Showdown had been in the works for approximately eight months. The trigger was the June launch of the HTC EVO 3D phone, creating a product branding they could build around an exciting competition like this one. “We actually started thinking about it early last fall, when we first got wind of the product and its capabilities, and we knew we had to do something big — something that would really hopefully own a conversation with the fan base over a six-week period,” Considine told the _Sporting News._ “When we got confirmation of the launch date, that’s when the dates and the races really fell into place… the HTC EVO 3D, the first wireless device that can capture and play back 3D images and video without 3D glasses is changing the game in wireless, so we thought it was appropriate to get the word out with a competition-based NASCAR Sprint Cup Series promotion that changes the game for drivers and fans.”
And with three million dollars on the line – game changer is certainly the best description of the innovative Sprint Summer Showdown.
“Enter The Sprint Summer Showdown”:http://sports.sprint.com/speed/summer-showdown/
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