The Indianapolis 500 was going to be a giant Colts celebrations - until the Colts got in the way. With Peyton Manning already starting the Indy 500, Paul Diatlovitch, owner of PDM Racing, had asked the team for permission to don Jimmy Kite's No. 18 car with in the Colts team colors, and a "Go Colts" on the side. Easy request, right? Free signage and messaging that others pay millions for? A touchdown! Think again.
The Colts passed on the idea due to sponsorship concerns.
Crazy as it sounds, the Colts' refusal was due to the NFL passing a rule last year prohibiting cross-promotion between sports. With four to five teams each year requesting sponsorship from the Colts each year, team V.P. of sales and marketing Tom Zupancic said they also said no to avoid any possible infringements with its own exclusive sponsors.
Diatlovich wasn't satisfied with the rationale from the team.
"I'm extremely upset with the narrow-minded, pinheaded leadership of the Colts team and the NFL,'' said Diatlovich, who lives in the city. ``It's inexcusable. All we're trying to do is say thank you.''But maybe there's more than just a thank-you in mind. PDM is almost always a low budget team, and it's historically been known to make the most out of its mediocre equipment. Financial limitations have forced the team to bring but one car to races, and sit out weeks of practice to save money. More than anything, the Colts were worried that PDM would use the implicit sponsorship from the team to net support from local sponsors.
Technically I'm not sure there's anything really stopping PDM from putting the colors and name "Colts" on a car. Is there a trademark on the color scheme and phrase? If Diatlovich and PDM were really trying to show their gratitude to the team, wouldn't there be some other way to honor the team?
Diatlovich and company will remain sore losers in the decision for the rest of the week, bitter about their rejection:
"We wanted to keep the excitement of the Super Bowl going, but, obviously, they didn't want to do that,'' he said. "I really don't understand it.''That is, unless they win. Then they can become sore winners. But if that happens, the Colts will be a distant memory for the team.