SBD/October 20, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Driving For Dollars: NASCAR Teams Continue To Scramble For Sponsorship Cash

Edwards (l) and Ragan are both still assembling sponsors for next year
With many "lucrative multi-million-dollar sponsorships expiring, the scramble for sponsorship cash is fierce at NASCAR's premium level," according to Nate Ryan of USA TODAY. Roush Fenway Racing seems "affected most among championship-caliber teams." The team "re-signed points leader Carl Edwards two months ago but still is assembling the sponsorship next year for his No. 99 Ford." The team also is "hustling for fundraising" for drivers Matt Kenseth and David Ragan. More companies are doing "partial-season deals, and some are coming from lower-tier series." GMR Marketing Exec VP/Sports Marketing Mike Boykin said that "hefty sponsor deals that once went for $20 million with top teams have been discounted to $12 million-$14 million." Ryan notes sponsorships at Front Row Motorsports "top out at about $150,000 a race." Until this season, that was "considered a bargain in a series where powerhouse teams typically charge at least $400,000 a race." Now "high-profile teams are moving in on Front Row's price points." Front Row GM Jerry Freeze: "I hear the top end of the garage is doing deals for $150,000 or less now" (USA TODAY, 10/20). Boykin said that "many sponsor deals signed just before the 2008 downturn expired this year." Just Marketing Int'l CEO Zak Brown: "Everyone has cycled through any contractual protection they had" (USA TODAY, 10/20).

TRYING TO FIND NEW PARTNERS: Red Bull Racing VP & GM Jay Frye said the recent on-track success of driver Kasey Kahne has "made the phone ring" regarding the '12 season. Red Bull earlier this year announced its plan to withdraw its Cup team, but Frye said the team has "two or three things that we're working on that we're very optimistic about" and is in "serious negotiations" with those groups. Frye said, "We continue to get new calls every week. ... So we're really optimistic something is going to happen in the next couple of weeks" ("NASCAR Now," ESPN2, 10/18). Meanwhile, Red Line Synthetic Oil, along with Green Stuff, renewed its primary sponsorship with driver Scott Speed. Speed will race in the Good Sam Club 500 on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway (Red Line Oil).
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