SBD/May 14, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Wheels & Deals: NASCAR Signs Sherwin-Williams In $2M Official Partnership

SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Tripp Mickle reports NASCAR has "signed a multiyear sponsorship deal with Sherwin-Williams, adding its first official blue-chip sponsor in five years." The deal, which sources valued at more than $2M per year, "gives NASCAR its first official paint partner." Sherwin-Williams also "gets rights to the NASCAR Touring & Weekly Series and Grand-Am Road Racing, which will become United SportsCar Racing next year after its merger with the American Le Mans Series." The company also will be "title sponsor of the Fastest Lap Award in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, and it gets track hospitality packages during several NASCAR races." The deal marks the "first national sports sponsorship for Sherwin-Williams in years" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/13 issue).

FEELING LUCKY? In Las Vegas, Ed Komenda noted Bally Technologies and "many other slot machine makers are beginning to bridge the gap between traditional spin slots and immersive video games." The most "immersive slot machines, such as NASCAR, have gone beyond simple player-character interaction." When a player taps the spin button on the NASCAR slot machine, they can "strike the 'U-Race' bonus, and suddenly you’re transported to the first lap of a three-lap race at Daytona." The character chosen "at the beginning of the game -- either Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson or Kevin Harvick -- sits in the driver’s seat, but you’re in control" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 5/13).

DRIVING TOWARD A CAUSE: SPORTING NEWS' Bob Pockrass noted ARCA Series driver Leilani Munter is "working with the group '1% for the Planet' to raise funds for a racecar that will be branded as the 'VegNation' car to promote a vegan lifestyle." Munter hopes to "compete with the car in select ARCA races later this year." She promises that her campaign is "more about the positives of eating vegan food and encouraging people not to dismiss the concept rather than telling people that they are choosing the wrong diet" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 5/13).

START 'EM YOUNG: In Las Vegas, Alan Snel notes 15-year-old driver Kayli Barker "pitched local businesses to sponsor her by stressing a work ethic that delivers straight A’s and pointed out her charities that include helping homeless high school students." Barker is "selling herself to Las Vegas area businesses in hopes of financing an annual race budget of about $50,000." She has "only two sponsors." The Barkers have hired Las Vegas-based ad agency Imagine Communications "to beef up the racer’s marketing efforts" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 5/14).

YOU'RE SO MONEY: Fifth Third Bank North Carolina President & CEO Tom Heiks said that NASCAR has "turned into a bit of a business for Fifth Third." In Charlotte, Andrew Dunn notes Fifth Third's focus on NASCAR started when it "acquired Charlotte-based First Charter" in '07. Heiks said that the bank "brought on some new bankers with experience in motorsports, who approached executives about creating a concentration." Fifth Third was the "primary sponsor for Matt Kenseth's No. 17 car in four races last year -- complete with the bank's blue logo on the hood." The company is "sponsoring Ricky Stenhouse Jr." in the same car this year (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/14).
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