SBD/Issue 29/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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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