SBD/January 16, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Smithfield Foods, Richard Petty Motorsports Agree On Three-Year Extension For No. 43 Car

Smithfield will sponsor Almirola's Petty Blue No. 43 car for 29 races in '14
Smithfield Foods and Richard Petty Motorsports yesterday announced a three-year extension through the '16 NASCAR season. The company and its family of brands, including Eckrich, Farmland, Gwaltney, Nathan's and Smithfield, will return as primary sponsors of Aric Almirola's No. 43 Sprint Cup Series entry for 29 races in '14. That figure is up from 15 events in '12 and 25 last year (RPM). FORBES.com's Darren Heitner noted Smithfield as part of the deal will "increase its investment" in RPM by 50% throughout the term of the agreement. This will "serve as significant funding" for RPM, which has "experienced an increase of 20% or more in revenue over the past year, but consistently relies on sponsorship to keep its race team afloat." Smithfield CEO Larry Pope said, "The relationship today is going to be six-times the size of our initial relationship" (FORBES.com, 1/15). The AP noted the increased involvement from Smithfield "has the company signed on for all but seven races of the 38-race schedule -- a coup for RPM at a time when sponsorships are often being divided between multiple companies." Smithfield was sold to Chinese company Shuanghui Int'l Holdings in a deal "finalized in September." Pope said of RPM sponsorship, "I believe it is the right way to communicate to our consumers. My new owners have no issue with this at all and are 100 percent supportive. They were overwhelmed by the fans and the people and the activity, and they didn't realize the attraction and the connection between racing and the brand." Pope said that Smithfield has "seen double-digit increases in sales in areas where it runs promotions connected with the RPM and Almirola sponsorship" (AP, 1/15).
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