500 Festival Appoints Merna VP

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The 500 Festival, a nonprofit organization providing life-enriching events and programs that celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500, has appointed Pat Merna vice president of strategic partnerships. In this role, he will be responsible for securing and maintaining new and existing sponsorship opportunities for the 500 Festival’s events and programs. Merna has more than 19 years of sports and corporate partnership service and activation experience.

He comes to the 500 Festival from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Verizon IndyCar Series where he served as senior manager of partner strategy. 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.

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.

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