SBJ/Dec. 14, 2009/2009 NASCAR Brand Leaderboard

Sponsor impressions, value jump in 2009

Companies that aligned themselves with NASCAR in 2009 received $1.9 billion in exposure for their brands, up 12.5 percent over 2008, according to the results of an annual custom research effort conducted during the recently concluded Sprint Cup Series season.

For the third straight year, SportsBusiness Journal/Daily teamed with Kansas City-based sponsorship measurement firm Image Impact to measure the exposure received by companies doing business with NASCAR. This year’s research captured more than 200,000 sponsor impressions, 45 percent more than last year’s study, through NASCAR’s 36-race Sprint Cup Series schedule plus the Sprint All-Star Race.

Detections of 715 primary and secondary car and driver partners were analyzed, along with all race venue signs and the myriad graphics and audio mentions from the races’ TV broadcasts. Sixty-six sponsored locations were measured, six more than the 2008 study, in areas ranging from leaderboard graphics that viewers see on their TV screens (ranked No. 1 in exposure value), to exposure a sponsor may have received by having its logo on a trophy (ranked last). Tertiary sponsors on driver and pit crew uniforms and on the quarter panels of the race cars were not reported.

Video feeds from each race were broken down and evaluated for all brand detections that occurred on screen and were clear and in focus for at least one full second. Each of those individual detections was then evaluated based on its duration, average size, location and relative isolation (or lack thereof) from competing brands: Was the logo a featured image on the screen or was it shown among other sponsors?

Ranked by monetary value
Rank (2008 rank) Brand Value (change from 2008)
1 (1) Sprint $323,050,650 (-5.1%)
2 (2) Chevrolet $124,096,121 (-2.0%)
3 (3) Toyota $86,497,108 (+17.3%)
4 (20) Coca-Cola $75,666,577 (+302.3%)
5 (6) Lowe’s $69,493,950 (+40.2%)
6 (4) Ford $64,176,966 (-12.7%)
7 (5) AT&T $48,218,118 (-24.1%)
8 (32) Aflac $40,538,013 (+243.9%)
9 (7) Budweiser $39,647,525 (+8.4%)
10 (12) Amp $33,059,017 (+27.9%)
Ranked by total detections
Rank (2008 rank) Brand No. of detections
(change from 2008)
1 (1) Chevrolet 20,528 (+42.8%)
2 (2) Sprint 15,568 (+62.7%)
3 (3) Lowe’s 11,224 (+45.4%)
4 (4) Toyota 7,068 (+64.9%)
5 (20) Target 7,002 (+302.4%)
6 (5) M&M’s 4,505 (+9.7%)
7 (9) DuPont 4,408 (+63.3%)
8 (11) FedEx 4,403 (+72.3%)
9 (36) Aflac 4,317 (+296.4%)
10 (8) 3M 3,873 (+28.7%)
Ranked by total duration
Rank (2008 rank) Brand Duration (H:MIN:SEC) (change from 2008)
1 (1) Sprint 51:14:38 (+4 hours, 51 min.)
2 (2) Chevrolet 24:18:23 (+5 hours, 41 min.)
3 (3) Lowe’s 13:35:26 (+4 hours, 10 min.)
4 (4) Toyota 12:44:37 (+4 hours, 15 min.)
5 (26) Coca-Cola 07:39:55 (+5 hours, 23 min.)
6 (33) Target 07:34:03 (+5 hours, 43 min.)
7 (5) Ford 06:51:01 (-1 hour, 14 min.)
8 (30) Aflac 06:02:23 (+3 hours, 58 min.)
9 (11) FedEx 05:13:02 (+1 hour, 42 min.)
10 (7) M&M’s 04:46:10 (+4 min.)
Image Impact measured brand placement on 66 locations in each race, from car hoods to pit crew uniforms to the announcers’ desk. Because of its size, clarity and location on the screen, the leaderboard graphic generated about one-quarter of the $1.9 billion in total exposure value that was calculated through the year.
Location 2009 2008
Leaderboard (graphic) 25.80% 31.40%
Audio mention 12.60% 12.30%
Logo (graphic) 9.00% 8.90%
Hood 8.30% 8.40%
Text (graphic) 7.10% 4.60%
Driver uniform front 4.80% 2.80%
Quarter panel 3.90% 4.20%
Other 28.60% 27.40%
For the year, 96 drivers received at least one detection for a sponsor placement. The 12 Chase drivers finished among the top 16, led by Jimmie Johnson, through whom sponsors drew more than $72 million in value during the season. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who did not qualify for this year’s Chase, lost more than one-third of his exposure value compared with 2008, which was his debut season with Hendrick Motorsports.
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Following are the 10 categories that posted the highest aggregate exposure totals for their respective companies. For example, companies in the telecommunications sector saw nearly $391 million in value during the season, led by Sprint, with $323 million in exposure value for that company alone.
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Because location and clarity significantly affected the measured value of each detection, quantity did not always translate into increased value. Also, for the purpose of summary calculations, each audio mention was assigned a duration of five seconds.

For example, Amp Energy Drink’s 2,281 detections generated $33.1 million in exposure over the course of the season, putting the company No. 10 overall among the 715 companies tracked. AT&T, No. 7 overall, had about one-third as many detections, but because many of those detections were more prominently displayed, the company received $48.2 million in value.

A monetary value for each sponsor detection was calculated based on a formula combining all these factors and the network-provided rate-card price of a 30-second spot for each specific race. Overall, ad rates decreased by an average of 5 percent to 6 percent this season compared with 2008, according to Image Impact.

Races delayed by weather or wrecks also provided sponsors with additional exposure opportunities, especially through driver interviews and more on-screen graphics. Although many of the impressions did not come about as a result of a direct media buy, using rate-card prices creates a level playing field. For example, three companies have naming-rights deals at tracks: Lowe’s, Infineon and Auto Club of California. These companies received credit for brand exposure even if they did not necessarily sponsor a driver or telecast.

Among the findings:

Winning isn’t everything: In 20 of the 37 races monitored, the driver who delivered the most value for his sponsors was not the winner of the race.

17 percent of the total exposure value went to Sprint.

AT&T (ranked No. 7 in total value) lost nearly one-quarter of its exposure value compared with last year after being forced by NASCAR to terminate its primary sponsorship of Jeff Burton’s car following the 2008 season. The telecommunications giant kept its network advertising package, however, and remained one of the sport’s most visible brands. Verizon Wireless (No. 20) also received all of its $19.4 million exposure through network-related graphics and features, mostly through Fox. netted $27.33 million in exposure in its first season as a motorsports sponsor. In addition to being NASCAR’s official search engine, the company was the primary sponsor of Bobby Labonte’s car for most of his races, purchased significant advertising on Fox during the first 13 Sprint Cup races and had a presence at the track with a team of Ask Ambassadors.

Mixed results with Stewart …: Tony Stewart’s Old Spice deal generated $14.67 million (No. 32 overall), up from just $602,000 in 2008, and Burger King (No. 42) went from nine detections in 2008 to 616 this year, generating $10.63 million. However, Office Depot (No. 41), which became one of Stewart’s primary sponsors this season after four years in that position with Carl Edwards, saw a decline of 27 percent of its value, to $10.68 million.

… and with Edwards: 2008 Sprint Cup runner-up Edwards finished No. 11 in the standings in 2009, but primary sponsor Aflac (No. 8), which is also an official NASCAR partner, earned $40.54 million, an increase of 244 percent. Claritin (No. 35), whose one-race primary sponsorship of Edwards ended in a horrific final-lap crash at Talladega, saw its value drop 27 percent to $12.66 million.

Mark Martin’s partners saw big gains: More than 40 percent of the nearly $15 million in exposure that Martin earned for Carquest (No. 49) and Kellogg’s (No. 54) came during the 10-week Chase for the Cup.

Coca-Cola (No. 4) and Coke Zero (No. 38) combined for 2,600 mentions, nearly double last year’s total. In 2009, Coca-Cola ran 130 different NASCAR-themed marketing programs across the country, including seven national promotions and a ticket giveaway leading up to the Coca-Cola 600 in May. NASCAR was also promoted on 53 million Coke cans commemorating the league’s 50th anniversary.

Target’s (No. 17) value soared nearly 200 percent to $25.73 million, much of it during the playoffs. Its driver, Juan Pablo Montoya, finished No. 8 overall in the standings

NAPA, Quaker State and Shell Oil each lost about one-quarter of their exposure value compared with 2008

The $3.87 million generated by Jack Daniel’s represented a decline of 41 percent compared with 2008. Parent company Brown-Forman announced earlier this year that it would not extend its five-year deal with Richard Childress Racing.

Further results, including leaders by sponsor and driver, can be seen on this page and the two pages that follow.

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