AT&T Wins Approval from U.S. District Court to Re-Brand No. 31 Race Car
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) announced today that a United States district court judge has given AT&T the green light to re-brand the No. 31 race car it has sponsored with NASCAR since 2001.
Judge Marvin H. Shoob of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia, granted AT&T’s motion for preliminary injunction in its suit against NASCAR, giving AT&T the immediate right to put its logos and brand marks on the No. 31 race car.
“We are pleased that the court has allowed us to proceed with re-branding the No. 31 car,” said John Burbank, AT&T vice president of Marketing. “We look forward to the debut of the new paint scheme and to directing our focus back to the action on the track and to Jeff Burton’s fantastic start to the 2007 season.”
The No. 31 car has been sponsored by Cingular since 2001. Cingular was founded as a joint venture between AT&T and BellSouth, with AT&T holding majority ownership of the company. Following the completion of AT&T’s acquisition of BellSouth last December, Cingular is now wholly owned by AT&T and the Cingular brand is being transitioned to AT&T.
Earlier this year, NASCAR rejected a transitional plan to change the paint scheme and introduce the AT&T logo on the car. After lengthy, but unsuccessful, negotiations, AT&T filed suit against NASCAR last month and sought preliminary injunctive relief to expedite placement of AT&T brand marks on the No. 31 car.
AT&T’s suit claims that NASCAR violated the company’s rights to sponsor the No. 31 race car, noting grandfather clauses in the NASCAR agreements that were designed to protect its rights after Nextel assumed the role of title sponsor in 2003.
The No. 31 car is owned by Richard Childress Racing and driven by veteran Jeff Burton. Currently, Burton ranks second in the 2007 NASCAR Official Driver Standings.
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