SBD/Issue 93/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Wheels & Deals: Miccosukee Indian Sponsorship Could Disappear

Miccosukee Could Pull NASCAR
Sponsorships Following February 4 Vote
In Charlotte, Jim Utter reported sponsorship from Miccosukee Indian Gaming in all three of NASCAR’s main series -- Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Trucks -- “could be terminated as a result of an early February vote by the Indian tribe.” The tribe elected Colley Billie as its new Chair on January 5, and Billie had “campaigned on promoting a new and ‘proactive’ economic development platform.” Sources indicated that the tribe plans a February 4 vote to “decide whether it will continue its sponsorship in NASCAR, which includes Cup and Nationwide teams to be fielded in 2010 by team owner James Finch and a Truck team owned and driven by Kyle Busch.” Sources said that the “chances the NASCAR sponsorships will continue are considered slim” (THATSRACIN.com, 1/25).

DOLLARS & SENSE: In Orlando, Tania Ganguli writes while other Nationwide Series teams "struggled last season," JR Motorsports "made more money than expected." JR Motorsports will "use that profit to keep the No. 88 team running throughout 2010, regardless of sponsorship issues." The team "only has about one third of the season's races sponsored for Kelly Bires No. 5 Chevrolet at the moment, but will be able to keep that going, too." JR Motorsports co-Owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. said the team "didn't want to downsize the company any more like the year before." He added the addition of Danica Patrick for a select number of races "really justified having two programs and keeping our employee count. That was awesome to have that" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 1/27).

LIFE IN THE FAST LANE: ESPN.com's Terry Blount profiled JR Motorsports co-Owner & GM Kelley Earnhardt, who also "runs the show for Junior's numerous other endeavors." She "handles the day-to-day decisions" of the team along with "making sure all of her brother's other businesses run properly." Kelley Earnhardt was "instrumental in bringing Danica Patrick to the program." When asked if "dealing with the hype around Patrick" is different than dealing with her brother, Earnhardt said, "Oh no. It's totally the same. We definitely can handle that. We have that part figured out" (ESPN.com, 1/26).

CRUISE CONTROL: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Sponsor Services Manager Byron Goggin said all of JGR's sponsors "are valuable" because the team "can't go racing without them." Goggin said sponsorships are "important enough that we have to get those guys in here, get their photo shoots done, get the new talking points." Goggin: "All year, these companies have things they want to get across to their consumers, and the drivers need to learn what those things are and take ownership of those things themselves. ... Every sponsor has a reason they're on the race cars. The drivers convey that to the consumers." JGR sponsor Interstate Batteries Senior Art Dir Brenda Lyon said of working with JGR drivers, "All the drivers are very professional. They just come right in when we're doing the photo shoot and get to work" ("Countdown to Daytona," Speed, 1/24).

Waltrip Talks To CEOs Of Companies He
Sponsors To Discuss Business Plans
SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST: Michael Waltrip Racing Owner Michael Waltrip appeared on Fox Business yesterday, and Fox Business' Brian Sullivan told Waltrip, "Everybody knows you out there from the myriad of commercials. Actually, I'm happy to see you're still doing commercials, because a lot of talk with the economy that all the cars (in NASCAR) are going to be empty." Waltrip said, "NASCAR has survived these tough economic times as good as any sport could have hoped to. We at Michael Waltrip Racing have been able to sign all of our sponsors back.” He added, “I treat my sponsors as total partners. We're friends. In most cases, I know the presidents/CEOs of the companies and we can talk about how we're going to use that race car to sell more of their products" (Fox Business, 1/26).

THE LAND DOWN UNDER: SCENEDAILY.com's Jeff Owens reported NASCAR driver Marcos Ambrose has started his own marketing company in Australia named Pacific Pond "to help introduce Australian companies to NASCAR, and vice versa." Ambrose: "That is a huge growth for us, but on the flip side, there is even more opportunity for American sponsors and NASCAR in Australia." There are "plans to work on potential cross promotions between American and Australian sports as well" (SCENEDAILY.com, 1/25).

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