As Indy Goes Back to Brazil Brazilians Use Race to Sell their Wares

Lula gets Indy car race helmet Brazilian companies are going to make use of the starting race of the Indycar Series, to take place in São Paulo for the first time, in a street circuit, to do business with international buyers. The race is going to happen this coming March 14.

The event will serve as an opportunity for promotional activities developed by the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil), which has had a project in partnership with the event organizers since last year.

“It is a new strategy, which consists of using sports events to promote Brazilian products,” said the Business director at Apex, Maurício Borges. In 2009, according to him, the activities developed in the 17 phases of the event in the United States, Canada and Japan resulted in US$ 364 million for Brazilian companies participating.

This year, as the category is returning to Brazil after a 10 year hiatus, the Apex plans to promote, together with sector organizations with which it has promotion agreements, meetings with some 300 international buyers from different sectors. Indy raced in Brazil from 1998 to 2000, in Jacarepaguá race track, in Rio de Janeiro.

The main focus of the project is the market in the United States, as Indy is North American and most of the races take place there. But as the phase will be in Brazil, the Apex and associations are going to make use of the opportunity to invite businessmen from other countries to learn about domestic companies.

According to Borges, the idea is to have importers use the days prior to the event to visit potential Brazilian suppliers, see seminars about Brazil, its business and investment opportunities and, after that, watch the race.

The executive said, for example, that the Brazilian Association of Ceramic Tile Manufacturers, which has an agreement with the Apex, plans to bring 30 to 50 businessmen from different countries, including the Arab world, Africa and Asia. Revestir, the main fair in the sector, is scheduled to take place a few days prior to the event, from March 9th to 12th.

Last year, according to the Apex, promotion actions developed alongside the Indy races generated contracts in the field of software, aerospace, food, biotechnology, medical and dentistry products, furniture, wine, petrochemicals, jewelry and cosmetics, among others.

The agency plans to bring potential investors so that they may learn about the opportunities existing in Brazil. As it is a sports event, projects for the 2014 World Cup – in Brazil – and 2016 Olympics – in Rio – should be presented.

According to Borges, investment in the project for the 2009/2010 period should be between 15 million Brazilian reais (US$ 8 million) and 20 million reais (US$ 11 million), and this year the expectation is for generation of business during the Indy races to reach US$ 400 million.

In the other races, it is Brazilian businessmen who travel elsewhere, mainly to the US, and meet with local buyers. “It is using sport to establish relations and show products,” said the executive.

Indycars themselves serve as marketing vehicles for Brazilian products, as they have been running on Brazilian sugarcane ethanol since last year.

Last wee week, members of the category had a promotional agenda in Brazil. Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva met, in Brasília, with the seven Brazilian drivers who are participating in the championship: Hélio Castro Neves, Tony Kanaan, Bia Figueiredo, Vitor Meira, Mário Romancini, Mário Moraes and Raphael Matos. Also present were the heads and representatives of organizations connected to the event.

On February 3, the mayor of São Paulo, Gilberto Kassab, met with the Brazilian drivers at the site of the race, in the area surrounding Anhembi exhibition hall. Sambódromo, where the Carnaval parades take place, should be one of the straightaways of the track.

Kassab said that the race should generate a turnover of 100 million reais (US$ 53.2 million) for the city of São Paulo, in which the Brazilian Formula 1 Grand Prix already takes place each year, at Interlagos Race Track.

Anba

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