ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Feb. 26, 2003) – Bridgestone/Firestone's sponsorship of the recent 2003 Champ Car World Series season-opening race in St. Petersburg proved a boon to the company's local retail businesses as well.
BFS, in cooperation with the organizers of the inaugural Champ Car event through the streets of St. Petersburg, offered fans free tickets to practice and qualifying on Friday, Feb. 21, by visiting any of the 74 Tires Plus locations or 20 TireStarz dealers in the Tampa/St. Pete's area. The company also arranged for several Champ Car drivers to visit local stores, which reportedly attracted overflow crowds.
“This was a tremendous promotion and the proof is in the results,” said Richard Siegel, vice president of marketing for Tires Plus, a BFS-owned retail chain.
“On the climactic weekend of the promotion, the week before the race, we charted a sizable increase in traffic to our retail outlets, and the Tampa area locations established a record three-day profit. We're eager to investigate other race markets where we can activate a program like this.”
When Bridgestone Motorsport announced its intention to become presenting sponsor of the 19-race Champ Car World Series in 2003, the company promised an aggressive “market activation plan” in conjunction with racing.
In addition to getting vouchers for free Friday tickets, fans could register at any of the 94 participating outlets for a pair of race-day tickets to be given away in a random drawing.
BFS/Tires Plus advertised the sales promotion with banners at location and through radio and newspaper advertising, and Bridgestone supplied its popular show truck, complete with racing and performance show cars, to numerous participating locations.
Champ Car drivers Bruno Junqueira, Mario Dominguez and Roberto Moreno made store appearances in the weeks leading up to the race.
Store employees participated as well, by competing in a Bridgestone passenger tire sales incentive contest, with the top performers earning race-day VIP tickets.