Thursday, September 6, 2007

NASCAR says AT&T was well aware of logo policy

One of the things I find the most interesting in this article is in the last 2 paragraphs.

Sprint is claiming that AT&T is diluting the facts because there is still a Cingular store only miles from the court in Atlanta.

Well, he is how a merger (or whatever) kind of works. I know a little about this re-branding because I was an employee of CenturyTel Wireless here in Michigan and we were bought out by Alltel. I am now an Alltel employee. Well, Alltel spent a lot of money with "re-branding" CenturyTel to Alltel. The commercials came first and lasted for quite a while. The nearest retail store to me at that time (I was a field technician) was in a relatively small town. I think it took along time for that store to get "retro-fitted" and start sporting the Alltel name and logo's. But, the point is that when your re-branding, you are phasing out the old name and not just changing it over night. This is so that the majority of the customers now whats going on.

I can not swear to this, but I thought I read somewhere that AT&T's re-branding was going to take into January of 2008 (3 or 4 months from now). So big suprise that there are still some Cingular stores out there.


NASCAR and Sprint have responded to AT&T's second request for an injunction to allow the AT&T logos on the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing car in Nextel Cup competition.

AT&T, which was involved in a merger with former team sponsor Cingular in December 2006, has asked for an injunction under the theory that it had reason to believe it could change the logos on the car and is suffering an injustice because NASCAR won't allow it to happen.

A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 18 in U.S. District Court in Atlanta.

AT&T banks its case on a June 2003 meeting where Cingular and NASCAR executives met to discuss the Cingular sponsorship with the Nextel becoming the series sponsor in 2004. In it, AT&T says that it was not conveyed that the brand could not change if there was a merger.

NASCAR says anything conveyed at that meeting is not binding because the parties agreed in writing prior to the meeting that anything discussed would need to be confirmed in writing.

The sanctioning body also restates that it consistently informed Cingular that it could not put logos of parent companies or products on the car without the Cingular marks.
"The undisputed evidence, from documents and testimony, confirms that NASCAR consistently thereafter [that meeting] communicated to Cingular and RCR that NASCAR would not permit the use of any other telecommunications brand on car No. 31," NASCAR states in its filing.

AT&T originally won an injunction May 18 under a breach-of-contract claim, but it was overturned Aug. 13 by the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

For the last two races, there have been no logos on the Jeff Burton car or on the team uniforms. According to NASCAR, that could be costing RCR $100,000 in sponsorship money, although an AT&T spokesman has said that the company is still paying for the races where the car does not have logos.

Sprint's filing reiterates many of NASCAR's arguments and also states that AT&T's claims are diluted by the fact that there are still some Cingular stores that have not transitioned to AT&T.

It noted that one of those stores is located "only miles from this court" in Atlanta.

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