SBD/December 12, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Sprint's Extension Of Title Sponsorship Shows Commitment To NASCAR

Sprint will continue to do what it has been with knowledge of NASCAR’s five-year plan
Neither Sprint nor NASCAR execs would say whether Sprint “will continue to pay the $70-75 million annually it had committed to under the 10-year contract that ends in 2014,” but the fact that the company “re-signed for three years at an undisclosed amount shows that both sides believe in each other,” according to Bob Pockrass of SCENEDAILY.com. NASCAR is “riding a wave of momentum at the end of the 2011 season with a rise in television viewership (up 8 percent) and ratings (up 5.6 percent) for Cup events this year.” NASCAR has developed “a five-year marketing plan to focus on youth, diversity and other target audiences.” Sprint VP/Corporate Marketing Steve Gaffney said, “That combination of the five-year plan, the resolute leadership of NASCAR and the health that we were witnessing the sport had over the course of 2011 insured for us that we were making the right decision. I don’t think we were ever in a position where we questioned it.” Sprint is “at a critical point in its play to remain one of the top wireless carriers as it tries to phase out old technology while increasing its coverage.” NASCAR Senior VP & CMO Steve Phelps said, “Even when their stock was at their lowest and things were difficult, they always, always, always were a great partner to the sport. They said they were going to support the sport through activation and advertising and promotion, and they did.” Phelps added, “We had no hesitation in renewing them. … They were very forthcoming about where they believe their business is going and we’re comfortable with that.” Gaffney said that Sprint “will continue to do what it has been doing with knowledge of NASCAR’s five-year plan, but won’t use NASCAR’s marketing plan to dictate Sprint’s strategy.” Pockrass noted one thing that Sprint “enjoys is the Sprint Cup Mobile, which includes statistics and at times streaming race video.” With the extension going from ‘14-16, Sprint “could position itself to take advantage of more rights available if NASCAR takes control of its digital rights rather than selling them off as it does now to Turner Sports, whose contract runs through 2014” (SCENEDAILY.com, 12/11).
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