BRISTOL (press release)
Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel centers in North America, announced today via a team member event at their Knoxville headquarters that they have signed on to be the title sponsor of the Battle at Bristol – an iconic college football game to be held on Saturday, September 10, 2016 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The historic racetrack will host a border battle between the Virginia Tech Hokies and Tennessee Volunteers and is expected to shatter the existing college football attendance record.
This sponsorship represents a monumental company initiative for Pilot Flying J. From securing naming rights for the game – Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol – to using this pinnacle event as a catalyst to further engage employees, customers and consumers nationwide via multiple events, this opportunity will look to further position the company as a destination of choice in the travel center industry. Adding to the excitement, ESPN/ABC is confirmed as the broadcast partner of the Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol, with time and final network to be determined at a later date.
“We likely wouldn’t be sitting here today if I had not been given the opportunity to play college football for the Tennessee Volunteers. That experience had a significant impact on my life, teaching me valuable life lessons that provided me with the foundation to be a successful businessman,” said Jim Haslam II, founder and chairman, Pilot Flying J. “We could not be more excited as a company to be part of college football history next September. Throughout the year, we will seek opportunities to engage our Pilot Flying J team members and customers to join in and celebrate this tremendous partnership.”
The Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol brings together neighboring states of Virginia and Tennessee that have deep and storied roots for the company. From Jim Haslam’s playing days for the 1951 Tennessee Volunteers national championship football team, to the first Pilot filling station opening in Gate City, Virginia in 1958 – a mere 30 miles from Bristol Motor Speedway, the Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol will serve as the proverbial middle ground to showcase the company within college football and at an iconic venue.
This sponsorship will complement Pilot Flying J’s current sponsorship of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Michael Annett’s No. 46 car.
Following Bristol Motor Speedway’s legendary Night Race on August 20, 2016, the venue will be transformed into the world’s largest football stadium for the inaugural Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol game. With a projected attendance of 150,000, the event is expected to crush the previous college football attendance record, which currently stands at 115,109.
“All eyes in the sports world will be on the Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol next September and we’re thrilled to have a national sponsor by our side who embodies the welcoming spirit of our Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountain region,” said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway. “We’ll have Vol and Hokie nation fans from nearly every state at the game, so having a partner who shares our focus on making guests feel at home is important to us.
“It’s also fitting that Pilot Flying J’s founder, Jim Haslam, was on a national championship football team. He took the lessons of discipline and determination that he learned on the field and applied them in business to create one of the top 10 private companies in the nation. With his visionary leadership and Pilot flying J’s commitment to excellence, the Battle at Bristol will be a world-class event.”
The title sponsorship will allow Pilot Flying J the opportunity to engage with fans at the racetrack – via display, sampling and merchandising opportunities – throughout the 2016 NASCAR season, as well as during the Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol itself. Travel centers and plazas throughout the Pilot Flying J network will also feature unique in-store retail promotions and displays leveraging Battle at Bristol imagery and assets, allowing further customer interaction.