SBD/October 28, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

NASCAR Chair Brian France Sees Cause For Optimism For Sponsorships

France trying to bring more technology and environmentally-friendly companies into sport
NASCAR Chair & CEO Brian France said that it is "unrealistic to think NASCAR could emerge unscathed from the recession and the slow recovery," but amid the setbacks, he "sees cause for optimism," according to Erik Spanberg of SCENE DAILY. France said, "We’ve had a number of sponsors join us. We’ve had some leave. But the net has been a growth year for us. Now that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It doesn’t mean that the teams aren’t working a lot harder to obtain primary sponsorships or anything comes easy because the economy is still (bad), as we all know." Spanberg noted Sprint has two years left on its 10-year, $750M title sponsorship of the Cup series, and Sprint execs last summer indicated that they "hoped to renew the agreement, a notion France endorsed." France: "You’ve heard me say our goal is always to renew with the incumbent provided it’s a good fit for both companies. It’s certainly been that. So my goal is to ultimately get a renewal and those conversations are ongoing. We’ll see how it plays out." France said that he and NASCAR are also doing more to "help teams land sponsors, including joint sales pitches and greater collaboration." NASCAR has also launched a campaign to "bring technology and environmentally friendly companies into the sport, an effort that started with the addition of ethanol-blend fuel being used on the track this season." France said, "If you look at the typical companies that sponsor within NASCAR, you won’t see a lot of technology companies and you won’t see very many green companies. We’re trying to change that" (SCENEDAILY.com, 10/27).

SEARCHING FOR SPONSORS: In Jacksonville, Don Coble notes one of the drivers the economy has affected is David Ragan. As Ragan looks for sponsors and race teams, his schedule will be "filled with sales pitches, talking to car owners and finishing out the season in the No. 6 UPS Ford at Roush Fenway Racing." Ragan's UPS deal was "downgraded to a part-time sponsorship, and it moved over to fill in some of the holes on" driver Carl Edwards' car. Ragan said, "I can do Nationwide and wait for the economy to turn back around. Until then, I'll be meeting with sponsors and trying to put something together" (FLORIDA-TIMES UNION, 10/28).
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