SBD/Issue 29/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • NASCAR's Seven-Year Truck Title Deal Brings Stability To Series

    Camping World Inks Seven-Year
    Deal To Title Sponsor Truck Series
    NASCAR Thursday officially announced that Camping World has signed a seven-year deal to title sponsor the Truck Series beginning next season, "bringing a measure of stability to its No. 3 racing series,” according to John Schwarb of ESPN.com. Financial terms were not disclosed. Camping World replaces Craftsman, which was the Truck Series’ “first and only sponsor since it began” in ’95. Camping World Chair & CEO Marcus Lemonis said that the company “will activate its sponsorship not only on the racing surface with truck windshield decaling but around racetracks themselves, providing an interactive marketplace for their recreational vehicles and outdoor camping accessories.” Lemonis: “Our activation is about experiencing our product, and our activation is about allowing people to take our product to the racetrack to make it more convenient.” Camping World has been a “prominent brand in recent years in NASCAR and especially the Truck Series,” sponsoring Kevin Harvick Inc.’s (KHI) No. 33 Chevrolet driven by Ron Hornaday Jr. The company will “continue as primary sponsor of the No. 33 through the 2009 season, but will end its sponsorship of a KHI Nationwide Series car” (ESPN.com, 10/23). Lemonis said that the agreement with NASCAR will “last at least four years” (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 10/24).  In DC, Tim Lemke reports the deal is “estimated to be worth” between $5-7M annually. Lemonis said that the company “has seen a 9[%] decline in sales this year, and it sought the title sponsorship as a way to broaden its marketing strategy.” Lemonis: “We needed a forum where we could spend an affordable percentage of our total marketing spend on branding” (WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/24).

    KEEP ON TRUCKIN': In Milwaukee, Dave Kallmann writes the Camping World deal “wasn’t the most lucrative one discussed,” but NASCAR Chair & CEO Brian France said that it was the “best fit because of the company’s ability to help the series attract more fans.” France: “You just can’t put a dollar amount on that commitment” (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 10/24). ESPN.com’s Terry Blount wrote the deal “shows that NASCAR can bring on major corporate dollars at a time when many companies are cutting back and reducing expenditures.” Signing a series title sponsor in the “middle of bleak economic times is a good sign that things will be OK in the long run, but everyone realizes many tough days are ahead” (ESPN.com, 10/23).

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  • Wheels & Deals: NASCAR Teams See Tough Times In Landing Sponsors

    ESPN's Marty Smith notes a Sprint Cup primary sponsorship 10 years ago "was about $10(M), and you could get an entire season," whereas teams now are asking for $26M from sponsors. Smith: "It’s hard for teams to go out and get that kind of money. Right now ... about 25 cars are fully sponsored for 2009. There’s 43 in every field, so there’s going to be a lot of teams out there scrapping and clawing trying to find money. Never before in this sport have so many owners been discussing collaborations, allegiances and alliances, and even mergers, just to keep their teams afloat" ("ESPN First Take," ESPN2, 10/24). Meanwhile, NASCAR Chair & CEO Brian France Thursday said that NASCAR "will not decrease the size of the starting field next season" for Sprint Cup Series races. When asked about speculation that NASCAR might reduce the field from 43 cars to 36 "because of difficult economic conditions," France said, "That's not at all in the plan" (ESPN.com, 10/23).

    CASE IN POINT: Chip Ganassi Racing President Steve Lauletta said the team is "100% prepared" to go into the '09 NASCAR season as a two-car Sprint Cup operation and with one Nationwide Series entry. However, Lauletta added, "If there’s a way for us to look at a collaboration with another team and make ourselves stronger, we’re certainly going to pursue that dialogue." He said no deal is close, and the team is "working really hard to make ourselves more viable from a sponsorship perspective." Lauletta: "If that means being able to share resources and do things a little bit differently, we’d certainly be open to it” (“NASCAR Now,” ESPN2, 10/23).

    NASCAR Not Planning To Make Any
    Changes To Car Of Tomorrow For '09 Season
    TOMORROW IS TODAY: The AP's Mike Harris reported NASCAR is not planning to switch from its use of the Car of Tomorrow for the '09 season, and that the COT is "going to stay ... for the foreseeable future." NASCAR Managing Dir of Corporate Communications Ramsey Poston: "There is no official statement on changes to the new car, but I can say that no changes are planned. ... Making changes at this point would likely cause teams to have to further make adjustments to their adjustments and that's not productive." Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., who has complained about the COT at times this year, said, "The car is definitely still a work in progress. ... Whenever they decide to move forward and evolve and let that car change and become a better race car, we will be ready to do that. But until then, we really don't have a choice in the matter" (AP, 10/22).

    NEWS FROM DOWN UNDER: Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing drivers Justin Wilson and Graham Rahal will feature "small decals honouring" late team co-Owner Paul Newman during Sunday's IRL Nikon Indy 300 at Surfers Paradise, Australia. The decals "include a logo with 'PL,' a nickname by which most of his racing friends knew him, and a reference to him being a 'true friend' of racing" (AP, 10/23)....Australian development Sanctuary Cove will sponsor IRL driver Alex Tagliani's No. 36 entry during Sunday's race. The development's logo will be "displayed prominently on the side pods, rear wing and engine cover" (AUTORACING1.com, 10/23). 

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  • Marketplace Roundup

    SI.com's Jim Kelley noted the NHL "prohibits advertising on player equipment," but in the case of Lightning Gs Mike Smith and Olaf Kolzig wearing masks promoting the movie "Saw V," the Lightning "apparently got around that by designating some of the receipts from the mutilation flick to charity." But the questions for the league "are how much goes to charity, how much is profit, and should that ad profit go to the team or the player wearing the ads?" If the NHL rules the masks are legal, "expect to see all kinds of equipment exploitation as virtually every team has a charitable foundation for that very purpose." Kelley: "You might also expect the Players Association to ask for a piece of that revenue" (SI.com, 10/23).

    Ocho Cinco Will Not Have His Last Name
    On Back Of Jersey Until Next Season
    SAME AS IT EVER WAS: Bengals WR Chad Ocho Cinco said that he will "wear his old name [Johnson] on the back of his jersey for the rest of the season," as it would have "cost him a lot of money to make the switch for this year." Ocho Cinco added that he "can get his new name on the back of his jersey next season without having to compensate Reebok, which will be aware of the switch when it comes time to make more jerseys for sale to the public" (AP, 10/24).

    FEELING LUCKY: The Canucks have signed a deal with Great Canadian Casinos that will see River Rock Casino, located in Richmond, British Columbia, become "the official casino" of the Canucks and GM Place. The club section of GM Place will also become "the River Rock Club" (VANCOUVER SUN, 10/24).

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