Indianapolis 500 May 27, 2018; Indianapolis, IN, USA; IndyCar Series driver Ed Carpenter (20) leads the field to the green flag during the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

There are many great motorsports events worldwide, but the Indy 500 is clearly the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

That’s not an opinion; that’s an actual trademark Indianapolis Motor Speedway has held since 1986, and track president Doug Boles has issued a pointed reminder to ESPN and other networks and racing series that he says have improperly used that slogan for their events. reports that F1’s U.S. broadcast partner, ESPN, used “the greatest spectacle in motorsports” in a season preview trailer. A NASCAR social media post recently used “the greatest spectacle in racing” to describe the Daytona 500, although the post was quickly deleted.

Variations of that “spectacle” trademark have been used in promotions for GP events in Las Vegas and Miami.

Boles told that IMS will “take every measure possible” to protect its trademark.

“We are aware of the use of our mark in what appears to be a broadcast promotional spot,” Boles said. “We will once again address it with the appropriate people and are prepared to take every measure possible to protect our brand’s intellectual property.”

The slogan has become synonymous with the Speedway and its marquee event, the Indy 500.

History is full of brands once trademarked but lost legal protection because they became generic names for the product. Among those brands are Post-It Note, Band-Aid, laundromats, wine coolers, and thermos.

There’s even a term for the phenomenon, “genericide.”

So Boles is out to protect IMS’ slogan.

“It continues to be disappointing that others can’t create their own brand identity without infringing upon ours,” Boles said.


About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.