OAKLAND, Calif., -- Ask.com, a leading search engine and an operating business of IAC, announced Wednesday it has entered into partnerships with NASCAR, NASCAR.COM and Hall of Fame Racing. Under the terms of the partnership with NASCAR, Ask becomes the Official Search Engine of NASCAR, with category exclusivity and a broad set of promotional rights in order to reach the sport's estimated 75 million loyal fans.
"As part of our strategy to go deeper into the highest-volume categories and provide the best answer, the first time, every time, we want to be the first place fans search online for NASCAR information," Ask.com CEO Jim Safka said. "Through these partnerships, we will break new ground by applying our semantic search technology capabilities to NASCAR-related content while also tapping one of the largest marketing channels in America.
"Our goal is to win over the millions of loyal fans by providing them with the best NASCAR search experience on the Web, and introduce them to all of Ask's capabilities when they come."
"Jeff Moorad and I are excited to add Ask.com as a primary sponsor on the No. 96 car," HoF co-owner Tom Garfinkel said. "We've been working closely with Ask.com for several weeks now, and their talented management team has come up with more creative ideas to serve NASCAR fans than I've seen in a long time. With our new Yates partnership and having a true champion and class person in Bobby Labonte behind the wheel, we're expecting great things on the race track as well."
Hall of Fame Racing on Tuesday also announced its alignment with Yates Racing. With the recent expansion of the Yates Racing facilities, the No. 96 will operate out of the Yates Racing complex in Concord, N.C. Yates fielded cars last year for Travis Kvapil and David Gilliland, and is adding Paul Menard to its roster this season. (read more)
"I'm excited to be part of what Ask.com is bringing to our sport," Labonte said. "In a time like this, it's great to see a sponsor come in with technology and ideas that will help all of the competitors in NASCAR and enhance the experience for all of our fans, no matter which driver or team they cheer for."
Under the terms of the partnership with NASCAR.COM, Ask will further extend its reach by exclusively powering the search experience on NASCAR.COM, the official online destination of NASCAR.
NASCAR.COM also will make available to its users Ask's exclusive new NASCAR toolbar, which integrates unique content and is designed to provide fans with convenient access to Ask's leading NASCAR search experience, and NASCAR.COM's best-of-breed editorial content.
Using its proprietary DADS, DAFS and AnswerFarm search technologies, Ask.com will search NASCAR's digital assets and structured data, making it instantly available to fans by entering natural-language queries into the Ask.com search box. For example, the query "Who was the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie of the year in 1995" will return the exact answer, front and center on the first results page -- something no other search engine does.
Ask.com will begin rolling out these new offerings at the start of the NASCAR season in February and will continue introducing new search product features throughout the 2009 racing season.
"NASCAR, as well as our teams, tracks and drivers, will all benefit from the innovative search technology Ask brings to the sport. The biggest winners will be NASCAR fans, now able to get the answers they want about the sport they love at the speed of NASCAR," said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO. "We welcome Ask.com to the NASCAR family and look forward to their technology reaching every facet of our sport."
Ask.com's agreement with Hall of Fame Racing will make Ask the primary sponsor of the No. 96 Ford in the Sprint Cup Series, the sport's premier level, giving the brand a frequent presence in front of NASCAR's massive at-track crowds and broadcast audiences. According to NASCAR, 17 of the 20 highest-attended sporting events in 2008 were NASCAR races, and NASCAR is the second highest-rated regular season sport on TV.
Ask.com also is in discussions with NASCAR-sanctioned track operators and media rights holders to identify strategic opportunities that will allow the brand to reach the sport's 75 million fans through on- and off-line channels during the 2009 NASCAR season, including at-track displays and in-arena media.