SBJ/December 24 - 30, 2007/This Weeks News

RV retailer increases its profile in NASCAR

Camping World/FreedomRoads, a sponsor in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series, signed last week to become the official outdoor and RV retailer of NASCAR, as well as the title sponsor of a developmental series.

Camping World/FreedomRoads will title
sponsor NASCAR’s new developmental series.
Previously known as the Busch East and West Series in NASCAR’s Grand National Division, the developmental series will be known as the Camping World Series for the next five years.

Terms of the deal were not released, but it is believed to be valued in the low seven figures annually, according to industry analysts. The official status deal and title sponsorship will run concurrently through the 2012 season.

FreedomRoads is the national network of RV dealerships, while Camping World is the retailer for RV and outdoor accessories.

“We’ll sell about 15 [percent] to 18 percent of the RVs in the marketplace and we’re trying to lock up the category,” said Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World. “It’s about brand awareness, product awareness and trying to grow our market share, as well as doing a better job of activating.”

The sponsorships broaden Camping World’s already significant presence in the sport. Camping World is the title sponsor of three Nationwide Series races at California Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Daytona International Speedway. The retailer also was the primary sponsor for driver Ron Hornaday Jr., who won the Craftsman Truck Series title in 2007.

In 2008, Camping World will sponsor Nationwide Series cars from Kevin Harvick Inc. and Richard Childress Racing.

Camping World also has a presence at track, where NASCAR events become a home away from home for anywhere from 3,000 RVs to as many as 35,000 at Talladega. Camping World has used those settings to set up retail outlets for anything from toilet paper to grills and generators.

“It’s a real store, with 7,000 to 10,000 square feet of accessories. We bring the products to the track,” Lemonis said. “We’re going to continue doing that in markets where it makes sense.”

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