It's finally happened.
After years of corporations purchasing "naming rights" to virtually all of the NHL arenas and major league baseball and football stadiums in existence (Air Canada Centre, BMO Field, Lucas Oil Stadium, etc.), it was announced this morning that Mosport International Raceway (a.k.a. Mosport Park) will now be known as Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
The announcement of a long-term partnership between the iconic Canadian brand and the legendary circuit north of Bowmanville was made the morning of the opening of the sixth annual Canadian Motorsports Expo being held over the weekend at the International Centre in Mississauga.
While efforts have been made by corporations over the years to purchase naming rights to famous facilities like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Daytona International Speedway, they have been rebuffed. The Charlotte Motor Speedway was named Lowes Motor Speedway for a few years but, so far as anyone knows, that was the only time a major speedway was known by other than its geographic location.
Road racing circuits are another matter. Although Laguna Seca and Sears Point in California now have corporate names (Mazda, Infineon), most of the iconic locations - Sebring, Road America, Road Atlanta, Le Circuit-Mont Tremblant, Mosport - have retained their original designations (Mosport being a contraction of two words: Motor and Sport).
“As Canada’s largest automotive retailer, Canadian Tire has a long tradition of supporting auto racing and motorsports in Canada,” said Allan MacDonald, Senior Vice President, Automotive, in a release. “Canadian Tire is excited to give back to the racing community by working with Mosport International Raceway to improve this racing landmark in Canada and create an enhanced experience for both drivers and fans.”
“We are thrilled to partner with Canadian Tire, an important supporter of Mosport and auto racing fans for many years," said Myles Brandt, president and general manager of Mosport, in a release.
"Together we’re building a world-class facility that will draw racing enthusiasts and grow our fanbase, which continues to evolve year over year.”
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is home to some of the biggest races in Canada, hosting the only Canadian stop for North America’s premiere sports car championship, the American Le Mans Series. The facility will also host two races in the 2012 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, one on the road track and one on the speedway.
Canadian racing champion Ron Fellows, one of the three new owners of Mosport, is expected to outline some long-range plans for the facility when he speaks Saturday at the Expo.
High on everyone's mind is whether a round of the NASCAR Nationwide (stock car) Series or Camping World (truck) Series is in the cards for 2013.