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SBD/August 5, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship
RFR President Newmark Says Re-signing Edwards Was Not Product Of Bidding War
Published August 5, 2011
TOO IMPORTANT TO LOSE: ESPN.com's Terry Blount reported Roush "couldn't come close to what Joe Gibbs Racing was offering Edwards, reportedly in the neighborhood of $8 million a year and a $10 million signing bonus." Ford then "came to the rescue in an unprecedented move to salvage the negotiations." Blount: "It was the right thing to do. Without Edwards, Ford's marketing potential in NASCAR would have decreased substantially." Edwards is a "marketing machine, a prototypical modern-day driver who is as comfortable in front of a camera as he is behind the wheel," and he is Ford's "signature star." Blount: "Every available dollar had to be spent to keep him" (ESPN.com, 8/4). In Richmond, Paul Woody notes Ford is "enjoying a resurgence in consumer sales," and it "needs Edwards, photogenic and telegenic, at the wheel of the No. 99 Ford Fusion." Woody: "Did you catch him on Regis and Kelly in June? Smooth. Suave. Witty. Managed to mention he drives a Ford, putting that brand in the minds of a demographic group not necessarily associated with stock car racing" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 8/5). SI.com's Tim Tuttle wrote Ford "invested in Edwards because he's the flagship driver on their flagship team." Ford "hasn't won a Cup championship since 2004 with Roush Fenway's Kurt Busch" (SI.com, 8/4). In Dallas, Gerry Fraley writes Ford is one of the winners in the deal as Edwards "helps prop up Ford's presence." Fraley: "Look for Ford to make the most of the relationship" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/5). USA TODAY's Nate Ryan writes "beyond cash," Ford's "enticements could include more branding and endorsement opportunities for image-savvy Edwards, putting his face in new social-media platforms, commercials and TV programming" (USA TODAY, 8/5).
CHILLING EFFECT ON MARKET: In Milwaukee, Dave Kallmann writes if Edwards had gone to JGR, it "would have opened a desirable seat and started the dominoes tumbling." But with "that option (and leverage) gone, look for the remaining free agents, most notably Juan Pablo Montoya and Clint Bowyer, to re-sign quickly with their current teams" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 8/5).