SBJ/June 4 - 10, 2001/No Topic Name

INSIDE THE DEAL

THE DEAL:

Big O Tires signs as the season presenting sponsor of Sears Point Raceway.


ESTIMATED VALUE:

$1.5 million total value in cash and promotions


LENGTH:

Four years


DEAL MAKERS:

Sharon Lane, regional director of marketing, Big O Tires; Tim Schuldt, vice president of sales and marketing, Sears Point Raceway; Frank Gullum, manager of sponsorship sales and development, Sears Point Raceway


KEY ELEMENTS:

 Official tire retailer of Sears Point Raceway

  Included in all television, radio and print advertising placed by the track

  Signage visible during five televised races, including placements on lap leader tower and eight-foot by 20-foot signs throughout the road course

  Rights to track logo and event tickets for promotions

  Display space at one of eight interactive pavilions (beginning with 2002 race season)

  Hospitality suite


BACKGROUND:

Sears Point Raceway is owned by Speedway Motorsports Inc., which also owns the Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Lowe's Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. The major race at the Sears Point road course is a NASCAR Winston Cup race. The track draws about 600,000 spectators annually.

Big O Tires has more than 500 locations throughout the United States. Most locations are owned by franchisees. The funding for the Sears Point deal came from co-op marketing funds from the Northern California/Nevada Regional, which is composed of about 100 franchisees.


ANALYSIS:

This won't be the end of seven-figure deals for Sears Point. The track will soon be in the marketplace selling title sponsorship. The eventuality of a naming-rights partnership was factored into the Big O deal, so the sponsor won't be surprised down the road. Big O isn't new to the track. The company is a longtime but minor sponsor. Big O gets the name recognition from the constant promotion of track events. But even more important, it will have promotional rights to races. The company knows that an offer of free tickets with a purchase lures customers to the door. A multiyear deal gives the sponsor a chance to build some equity in the relationship, and if the company takes full advantage of the promotional tie-ins, it shouldn't be too difficult to get a good return on this investment.

Alan Friedman (alanf100@excite.com) is founder of Team Marketing Report.

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