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Joe Gibbs Racing hooking up with powerhouse IMG

Joe Gibbs Racing is finalising a broad-based relationship with IMG that will give the NASCAR team access to the agency's full range of sponsorship sales, measurement and activation capabilities.

The agreement between JGR and IMG will not preclude the race team from working with other agencies and their clients, said JGR president J.D. Gibbs. It simply gives Gibbs Racing the ability to tap into IMG's resources, most notably the agency's return-on-investment tools.

“You reach a point over the years that you either need to increase what you have in-house and make yourself a lot larger or you need to tap into someone else,” Gibbs said.

JGR's front office includes five employees under Dean Noble, the team's vice president of business, and four under Dave Alpern, the vice president of marketing. Noble and Alpern will be JGR's day-to-day contacts with IMG.

IMG will take a team approach that includes Tom Knox, who runs the motorsports-heavy Charlotte office; newly hired Mark Dyer, a veteran of almost twelve years at NASCAR; and Jim Tucker, who previously has sold for NASCAR, the NFL and Gillett Evernham Motorsports.

It's uncertain if IMG will eventually embed a salesperson in the Charlotte-based Gibbs Racing headquarters, as it did with the NHRA and typically does with its college clients. There is not an ownership stake for IMG, and IMG Sports & Entertainment president George Pyne has said ownership is not in IMG's plans.

Neither side revealed details of the arrangement, but typically they involve a retainer fee and a percentage of sales.

“This adds a lot of value to JGR,” said Gibbs, who credited a lengthy relationship with Pyne for driving the deal. Pyne formerly was the chief operating officer at NASCAR, where he worked for 11 years.

“We haven't detailed everything we're going to do together, but we'll brainstorm it and I'm looking forward to seeing where this will go,” Gibbs said. “IMG has done a lot of neat things with ROI for their clients and we're looking to do more for our partners.”

Gibbs said the decision wasn't driven by the current economic climate, but rather a need for JGR to better assist its sponsors. The more information the team can present to its sponsors, the smoother those renewal discussions typically go, he said.



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