SBJ/June 4 - 10, 2007/This Weeks News

Aflac near deal with Roush Fenway, talking with NASCAR

Aflac is on the verge of securing a multiyear team sponsorship deal with Roush Fenway Racing, while also talking to NASCAR about acquiring official status in the category of supplemental insurance, sources say.

Allstate owns the categories for auto, home and life insurance, but declined an offer for the supplemental category, which could provide an entry point for Aflac.

Aflac’s sponsorship with Roush Fenway is expected to include four Nextel Cup races this year as the primary sponsor on Greg Biffle’s No. 16 car. That’s the car sponsored by Ameriquest, the troubled subprime lender that has been looking to sell off races and get out of the final two years of its deal, which runs through 2009. Aflac also will be featured as a primary sponsor for four Busch Series races this year.

Aflac is expected to settle into a full-time Busch Series sponsorship with Roush Fenway for 2008. An announcement is expected sometime this month.

Sources say that Aflac previously was involved in discussions with Dale Earnhardt Inc. for a deal that would have involved Dale Earnhardt Jr., but that deal fell through before Earnhardt’s announcement that he’d leave DEI.

Columbus, Ga.-based Aflac sponsored a trivia question on NBC’s NASCAR telecasts before NBC lost the television rights at the end of the 2006 season. The segment became known for late announcer Benny Parsons’ trademark introduction, “Cue the duck,” in reference to the popular Aflac mascot that waddled across the screen.

Sam Dawkins, a spokeswoman in Aflac’s marketing services division, said that any discussions with NASCAR are preliminary.

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