AT&T faces $100m lawsuit over NASCAR sponsorship

NASCAR filed a $100 million counter claim against US telecom giant AT&T, accusing the wireless provider of interfering with its exclusive sponsorship agreement with rival wireless company Nextel, an Associated Press report said.

The suit also asks that NASCAR be granted the right to kick AT&T, and all telecommunications companies other than Nextel, out of its top series in 2008, the Associated Press report said.

NASCAR filed the suit electronically in US District Court in Atlanta, alleging breach of contract, fraud and misrepresentation, and conspiracy to aid and abet wrongful interference with Nextel, the report added.

NASCAR and AT&T have been battling all season over NASCAR's refusal to allow AT&T to put its logos on Jeff Burton's car, the report said.

Burton and his Richard Childress Racing team have a sponsorship agreement with Cingular, which has since been purchased by AT&T, the report added.

AT&T is re-branding the company, but NASCAR would not allow the logos to be changed, citing its agreement with Nextel.
NASCAR claims Nextel has exclusivity through its 10-year, $700 million investment.

AT&T sued, and US District Judge Marvin Shoob issued a preliminary injunction last month that allowed the Cingular logos to be replaced.

He also barred NASCAR and any entity affiliated with it from interfering with AT&T's rights as primary sponsor of the car in the Nextel Cup series.