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Phoenix Speedway and ISM Connect agree naming rights termination

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Media technology company ISM Connect has stepped down from its naming rights agreement with the Phoenix Raceway just two year into its 10-year contact.

ISM Connect agreed a rights fee in the single-digit millions of dollars per year to name the track ahead the 2018 Nascar season – and was ready to invest up to $100m (€89m) over 10 years to install its network of smart engagement technology at the venue.

The two organisations have now “mutually agreed” to restructure their relationship and will discontinue the naming rights partnership.

Phoenix Raceway said in a statement: “The repositioning of Phoenix Raceway aligns with Nascar’s integrated sponsorship strategy and supports ISM Connect’s efforts to shift their focus from brand awareness to delivering their next generation technology at Nascar facilities.”

The “integrated sponsorship strategy” refers to Nascar’s efforts to create a new sponsorship structure based on a tiered, centralised model, which erases the series title sponsorship position and includes title deals for Nascar Cup Series races for top-tier partners.

In December, Nascar announced Busch Beer, Coca-Cola, Geico and Xfinity as the first Premier Partners of the series.The tier one packages were reportedly pitched at about $20m per year.

With ISM Connect’s departure, the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California is the only Nascar Cup Series track with a naming rights sponsor attached.

This return of the Phoenix Raceway name comes ahead of an historic season for the track which will host the 2020 Nascar Cup Series Championship for the first time in November. The venue has traditionally been the host of the penultimate weekend on the Nascar calendar but was awarded the hosting rights to Nascar’s finale after a $178m revamp.