SBD/January 22, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Stewart-Haas Racing Still Looking To Sell Primary Sponsorships For Several Races This Year

Stewart-Haas Racing “still needs to sell roughly 20 race sponsorships for the Sprint Cup Series this season,” according to Nate Ryan of USA TODAY. The team learned over the summer “of the impending departures” of the U.S. Army from Ryan Newman's No. 39 Chevy and Office Depot from Tony Stewart's No. 14 Chevy. SHR's marketing department “recovered quickly, signing Quicken Loans and Bass Pro Shops to bridge large gaps on both.” But Stewart said that nine races apiece “remain on each of their cars, along with a three-race opportunity” on Danica Patrick's car, which “will be filled by primary sponsor if no takers are found.” Given that co-Owner Gene Haas “has filled the team's past funding voids through sponsorships tied to his personal businesses, it isn't a death knell.” Stewart is “buoyed by nibbles from sponsors -- enough interest that SHR is mulling an expansion to four cars next year," when Kevin Harvick is "expected to join the team” (USA TODAY, 1/22). USA TODAY’s Jeff Gluck notes NASCAR team Owner Richard Childress yesterday confirmed that Harvick will leave RCR for SHR. Childress yesterday said that he “did not know whether sponsor Budweiser would leave RCR along with Harvick.” Childress said, "They haven't made any comments on what they're going to do" (USA TODAY, 1/22).

BEER RUN? RCR’s deals with Budweiser, Jimmie John’s and Rheem, which sponsor the No. 29 car Harvick drives, are up at the end of this year. The team is in discussions with all three, but Budweiser is the most important deal. The A-B brand is the primary sponsor for 20 races on the No. 29 car. When news broke last year that Harvick planned to leave RCR for SHR, many in the NASCAR press assumed that Budweiser would go with him. However, the brand is evaluating its options. If it stays with RCR, it could have a chance to sponsor Richard Childress’ grandson, Austin Dillon, in the No. 3 car. The deal would give it both a young driver with the 22-year-old Dillon, who fits their demo, and and a legendary car number. The No. 3 has not been driven in a Sprint Cup race since Dale Earnhardt’s death in '01. If it goes with Harvick, it will be sticking with a driver who it has built equity in over the last two years through POS promotions and special events like the roast it hosted on Speed in '11. Sources said A-B VP/Media, Sports & Entertainment Marketing Blaise D’Sylva will oversee the brewer's evaluation of its NASCAR sponsorship options. A decision is expected by late this summer or early in the fall (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).
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