SBD/October 25, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Caterpillar Satisfied With ROI From NASCAR Team Sponsorship Despite Burton's Struggles

Burton's No. 31 Caterpillar Chevy has not been to victory lane in more than four years
Caterpillar NASCAR Program Dir Greg Towles said that driver Jeff Burton's “lack of success hasn't impacted the value of Caterpillar's sponsorship,” according to Nate Ryan of USA TODAY. Caterpillar is in its fourth season with Richard Childress Racing, and is Burton's "primary sponsor for 24 of the 36" Sprint Cup races this year. Caterpillar seven years ago “began tracking the return on its NASCAR investment -- based mostly off sales related to racing.” Towles said that the figure is “more than 15%.” He added it is “a sufficient ROI that management is very comfortable with.” Burton said, "Like every team, we want to perform for sponsors. But when you are having down times, it's very nice to have sponsors that understand ebbs and flows and aren't constantly tightening the vise.” Ryan notes it has “been more than four years, though, since Burton visited victory lane,” and this season marks the second in a row in which he failed to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. However, much of Caterpillar’s NASCAR-related business “stems from race-day hospitality suites that can draw as many as 400 guests.” Towles: “Our goal with the race-day hospitality is to create an experience, no matter what happens on track, that the dealers and customers can say they had a great day with Caterpillar. If your whole reason for being in NASCAR is to win races and make the Chase, it's a tough economic model to make it work” (USA TODAY, 10/25).
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