INDIANAPOLIS (November 7, 2017) – The 500 Festival, a nonprofit organization providing life-enriching events and programs that celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500®, today announces the addition of Pat Merna as vice president of strategic partnerships. In this role, Merna will be responsible for securing and maintaining new and existing sponsorship opportunities for the 500 Festival’s events and programs. He brings 19 years of sports and corporate partnership service and activation experience.
Merna comes to the 500 Festival from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Verizon IndyCar Series. As senior manager of partner strategy, Merna has called the Speedway home since August 2011. His position was initially a new opportunity that combined the track and the series involving corporate partnership marketing activation, service and fulfillment, and managing high-level partnerships. It evolved into a senior management role in the partner strategy department where Merna took the lead with several clients like Chevy, Coca-Cola, Crown Royal, and more.
“The 500 Festival is excited to add a talented individual like Pat to our staff,” said Bob Bryant, president and CEO, 500 Festival. “Pat comes to us with built-in, positive relationships with a number of our key sponsors and community partners here in Indy. With six years of experience and familiarity with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Pat’s genuine understanding and interest in fulfilling our mission and impacting the community through celebrating the Indianapolis 500 is unmatched.”
Prior to his time at IMS and IndyCar, Merna held numerous roles as a director of business development, as well as marketing and corporate partnership positions with the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA and the athletic department at the University of California Santa Barbara.
To learn more about 500 Festival’s events and programs, please visit www.500festival.com.
About the 500 Festival
Founded in 1957, the 500 Festival is a not-for-profit organization that produces life-enriching events and programs that celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500® and foster positive impact on the city of Indianapolis and state of Indiana. One of the largest festivals in the nation, each year more than half a million people attend an event or program produced by the 500 Festival. Since its founding, the 500 Festival has contributed more than $400 million in economic value to Indianapolis. To learn more about the 500 Festival, please visit www.500festival.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.