Let’s take a look at open wheel racing in US after the IRL Nashville and CCWS Toronto events. The information I have gathered is post 7-16-06 and accurate to the extent that the web sites I checked out have correctly reported it. Even if it is only partially correct the picture is not good!
IRL cars with blank or owner related side pods.
IRL cars with genuine side pod sponsors.
Penske Marlboro 2
Gnassi Target 2
AGR Seven Eleven 1
AGR Jim Beam 1
AGR NYSE 1
AGR XM 1
Rahal Letterman Argent 2
Rahal Letterman Ethanol 1
Fernandez Delphi 1
Fernandez Super Aguri Panasonic 1
Dryer Rienbold Escort 1
Foyt ABC Supply 1
CCWS cars with blank or owner related side pods.
Newman Hass 1
CCWS cars with genuine side pod sponsors.
Newman Hass McDonalds 1
PKV Bell Micro 1
PKV Gulfstream 1
Rusport CDW 1
Mi-Jack Mi-Jack 1
Mi-Jack Tide 1
Walker Aussie Vinyards 2
Coyne Sonnys BBQ 1
Coyne Media Mall 1
Rocketsports Flexovit 1
Using the raw numbers sponsorship in the IRL is better by a count of 15 to 11 for CCWS. Some on the IRL list, like Ethanol, Delphi (Bankrupt) and NYSE, are arguably suspect and their return for 07 could be in doubt but still leave the IRL in the raw numbers lead.
Even if the 2 Forsythe and 2 CTE sponsorships are counted there are still 2 empty side pods at CCWS. The CCWS list reads like a “who is” list with many of the sponsors not recognizable by the casual fan. It’s safe to say many of these sponsors could bolt at any time.
I have found information for purses for both series and found them similar, except for Indy, with a slight edge going to the IRL at 1M per event compared to 900K CCWS.
We can assume the sanctioning fees are not vastly different at 1.5 to 2M per event.
The IRL probably has the edge with TV revenues even without Indy.
The IRL is putting 18 cars on the grid down at least two from last year. CCWS is taking, in one case 16, otherwise 17 to 18 cars to the grid down 1 from last year. If the series owners didn’t have entries the IRL would only grid 16 and CCWS 12.
It would seem that the IRL is the healthier of the two but perhaps a better analogy would be that their cancer is not a far advanced as CCWS. Neither series is a picture of health!
I have a difficult time seeing any of this as growth!
How will it all end? We can only guess, perhaps 07 will help to clarify the situation. One thing is for sure, no matter how much cost is taken out - Honda’s discounted engines, CCWS new cheaper chassis - if the sponsor thing doesn’t turn around there will be nothing left to merge.