NASCAR's officially sanctioned online racing simulator, iRacing.com, has signed a one-year deal to be the presenting sponsor of the syndicated TV show, '3 Wide Life'.

The 30-minute show targeted to the hard-core racing fan reaches 65 million households and is broadcast over-the-air and on cable, including on regional networks FS Midwest, SportSouth, MASN, Sun Sports, SportsTime Ohio and others. It recently completed its third season and another 26 episodes are planned for season four next year.

iRacing.com will be integrated into about a third of the shows, said Ryan Kurek, CEO of LVRG, the agency that developed and owns '3 Wide Life'. In 2010, it will be called '3 Wide Life powered by iRacing.com'.

"The show's fan base aligns well with our target audience," said Tony Gardner, president of iRacing.com. "Being in the title allows us to brand iRacing and get our message across. We'll have commercials and some input into certain segments of the show."

Financial terms were not available, but sources valued the one-year presenting sponsorship at between $300,000 and $400,000. Other seasonlong integrated spots are selling for $75,000.

Bedford, Mass.-based iRacing.com, created by gaming veteran Dave Kaemmer and backed financially by Boston Red Sox principal owner and Roush Fenway Racing co-owner John Henry, earlier this year agreed to a licensing deal with NASCAR to be the sanctioning body's home for online simulation racing. A similar programme has been established with the Indy Racing League.

iRacing.com, which began its online simulation service in 2008 and now has 15,000 members, is creating a virtual racing series for both of those sanctioning bodies and will begin running races for them next year.

by Michael Smith
Michael Smith is a reporter with SportsBusiness Journal