SBD/February 15, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Wal-Mart Partners With NASCAR In Company's First Licensing Deal With A Sport

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Wal-Mart will carry NASCAR-branded T-shirts, other merchandise
NASCAR has signed a licensing agreement with Wal-Mart that will enable the world's largest retailer to source apparel, home goods and other products bearing NASCAR, driver and team imagery and marks. The deal, which is expected to be announced soon, is Wal-Mart's first licensing agreement with a major sports property. A direct license from NASCAR gives Wal-Mart the ability to select suppliers and negotiate prices for hats, T-shirts and other NASCAR-related merchandise. NASCAR and Wal-Mart agreed to a three-year deal with options for an extension. Wal-Mart will pay a licensing royalty, but terms of that royalty were not available. The deal was struck by NASCAR Team Properties. NASCAR VP/Licensing & Consumer Products Blake Davidson said, "It's a significant step for us and the industry to take. Any sport doing deals directly with a retailer at this level with this breadth of size and scope is not common." Wal-Mart plans to support its licensing agreement over the next two weeks with a special "Race Time" promotion that begins today in more than 1,500 stores nationwide. The "Race Time" promotion will feature nearly a dozen of NASCAR's sponsors such as Coca-Cola, Mars and MillerCoors in a specially branded area of the store. Davidson said, "It's the largest retail promotion we've done." Wal-Mart also plans to run a "Chase the Race" program in race markets. It will set up a race simulator and activation area where sponsors can engage with fans in its store parking lots. The program will visit multiple stores in a market in the days preceding a race.

IN THE WORKS FOR A WHILE: The Wal-Mart deal is the result of a year of negotiations between NASCAR and the retailer. It is the third deal negotiated by the NASCAR Teams Licensing Trust. The trust previously negotiated licenses with Motorsports Authentics for trackside retail and Lionel for diecast cars. During the course of negotiations, Wal-Mart also reportedly looked at sponsoring Jeff Gordon's No. 24 car. The company pulled back from that opportunity last September to reassess its marketing plans in the sport. In addition to NASCAR-related retail promotions, it signed on to be presenting sponsor of Speed’s “Trackside” show, which premiered at Daytona in '04. The show will be hosted Friday night from the Speed stage at Daytona Int'l Speedway.
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