Friday, June 06, 2008

Verizon Purchase Likely Means End of Newman's Alltel Sponsorship

Verizon Wireless has announced plans to purchase Alltel Corp for $28.1 billion, including an estimated $22.2 billion in debt. Verizon spokesmen say the deal would create savings of $1 billion in the second year, with closing projected for the end of this year, pending regulatory approval.

Industry insiders say Verizon will likely discontinue the Alltel brand, and NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston confirmed yesterday that the sanctioning body’s contract with title sponsor Sprint will not allow Verizon to re-brand Penske Racing’s Alltel Dodge, driven by Ryan Newman.

The contract allows Alltel to remain in the sport, as long as it does not change teams or brand names. AT&T challenged that same grandfather clause in federal court last year, in an attempt to rebrand its sponsorship of the #31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet from Cingular to AT&T. A settlement was reached last September, allowing AT&T to use its trademark through the end of this season, before withdrawing from the sport.

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