SBD/March 9, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Interest, Investment Seem To Be On The Rise Among NASCAR Sponsors

NASCAR's ratings, estimated attendance have increased so far in '11
NASCAR's ratings and estimated crowds have "increased in each of 2011's first three races," and interest and investment also "seem to be on the rise among those benefiting most from the increased exposure: sponsors," according to Nate Ryan of USA TODAY. Just Marketing Int'l Founder & CEO Zak Brown said that his company "saw an uptick in prospects and in hospitality spending by existing sponsors" for Sunday's Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Brown: "People want to get involved with things that are trending up. I'm definitely seeing my clients and other clients talking about good stuff now." But Brown said that the "slow recovery of the U.S. economy ... will limit the impact of NASCAR's momentum on Corporate America's largesse." It is "unlikely there'll be a return of the $20 million primary sponsorships that became commonplace before the recession." Brown said sponsors are "inching up their spend," but it is "not a drastic increase" (USA TODAY, 3/9).

UNFAIR COVERAGE? CBSSPORTS.com's Pete Pistone wrote, "It's not my job or anyone who works in the media to be a cheerleader for NASCAR." But he added there "should be a sense of fairness in either criticism or praise." Pistone: "The discussion about television coverage is one that really gets under my skin in the unfairness department. It's true that in terms of ratings NASCAR has benefitted from good stories and solid competition as well as having it pretty open on the television stage. ... The reality is that for whatever the reasons, more people are watching again this year. ... To listen to some, you'd think FOX, TNT and ESPN position one camera on top of the grandstands at a racetrack and just turn it on when the green flag flies and switch it off when the race ends" (CBSSPORTS.com, 3/8).
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