By: Tanner Watkins
January 9, 2019 | 2:00 PM
If you haven’t heard the news by now, Japanese telecommunications giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) has signed on to be the title sponsor of the IndyCar Series for the next few years.
And if that name sounds familiar to you, that’s because NTT Data, a subsidiary of NTT, has been increasingly noticeable on the IndyCar scene recently. The company has been a partner with Chip Ganassi Racing since 2013, appearing on the cars of Scott Dixon and Ed Jones in recent years as well as Felix Rosenqvist’s No. 10 ride in 2019.
NTT Data and IndyCar turned a few heads as well recently when the pairing appeared in a nationally-televised advertisement for the Indianapolis 500 on NBC during the NFL playoffs.
So while IndyCar fans will be happy to have a new title sponsor in place after Verizon’s five-year run recently ended, they may be asking: who is this company?
As the parent company of NTT Data, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone came in at No. 55 on Forbes Global 500 listing. The company most recently reported $106.5 billion in sales and $203.8 billion in assets. NTT has spent 24 years on Forbes’ Global 500 list, which ranks the top 500 companies around the world annually by revenue.
Explained by the company itself, NTT is a fully integrated technology, networking and innovation services leader that helps enterprises exceed their digital transformation goals. More than 80 percent of Fortune 100 companies trust NTT for security expertise and world-class services including consulting, cloud, networking and systems integration.
Significant ongoing investments in R&D continue to reinforce NTT’s foundation in digital and cutting-edge technologies including AI, IoT, and quantum computing.
By comparison, Verizon Communications – the series previous title sponsor – shows as 37th on the same list with $126 billion in sales and $257 billion in assets. While there is a slight drop of by those metrics, NTT is still a major player in the Japanese tech scene and is a huge catch for INDYCAR.
In Japan, NTT supplies services in a variety of capacities which includes fixed line (landline) telephone options, mobile phone plans, broadband internet as well as streaming television, and digital television packages. In corporate settings, NTT also provides IT and network support for many of Japan’s most complex companies.
Over the last five years, NTT has used its subsidiary to open new business opportunities in sport.
In 2016, NTT Data partnered with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (from Japan’s professional baseball league) to deliver a virtual reality baseball training program. The Golden Eagles were the first such team to test the technology and adopted it officially beginning with the 2017 season.
To use the virtual reality system, a batter with a head-mounted display experiences the perception of a virtual batter’s box and a ball thrown by a specific pitcher. By experiencing simulations of specific pitches and pitch sequences from opposing pitchers, the Golden Eagles were able to find an advantage in using NTT’s “first of its kind” system.
On the motorsports front, NTT developed a performance shirt made from
hitoe® fabric that was first used by Tony Kanaan in 2017. The shirt is essentially a FitBit for your entire upper body, measuring muscle activity, heart rate and more to understand how much energy Kanaan uses in the car.
The shirt has only been made available to drivers who partner with NTT Data, such as Kanaan, Dixon, Rosenqvist, Ed Jones and Ryan Briscoe. Kanaan, who ran with Chip Ganassi Racing from 2014-17, was introduced to NTT Data back in 2014 and has brought the relationship to his current team, A.J. Foyt Racing.
As part of the new deal, NTT will continue to implement new technologies in
To reel in NTT is a job well done for INDYCAR after Verizon officially left as title sponsor just 15 days ago. While the Japanese company joins the series’ official branding in the coming days, NTT will also serve as the official technology partner of INDYCAR, the IndyCar Series, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Brickyard 400.
A job well done to Mark Miles, Jay Frye and the staff at INDYCAR that continues to keep momentum rolling for North America’s premier open-wheel racing series.
Header image by Chris Jones/INDYCAR.