SBJ/January 28-February 3, 2013/Mareketing and Sponsorship

Cessna parent looks for NASCAR sales to take off

Textron, which last week announced a 10-race sponsorship with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing for the No. 1 Sprint Cup entry driven by Jamie McMurray, is eyeing sales increases across the NASCAR industry for its Cessna airplanes, Bell helicopters, E-Z-Go golf carts and Bad Boy Buggies all-terrain vehicles.

Speaking at a press event, Cessna CEO Scott Ernest said that the company has a 20 percent penetration rate among NASCAR owners, drivers and sponsors. He declined to say how much it hopes to boost its percentage of that market, but did say that it will have a dedicated sales team working to sell planes across the NASCAR industry. He added that the company will use the sponsorship to promote six new lines of planes.

“The ability to network in their world was important,” Ernest said. “We’re going to continue to invest and grow our product here.”

E-Z-Go is working to increase its golf cart sales at racetracks across the sport. Atlanta Motor Speedway uses its carts and E-Z-Go is in discussions with Charlotte Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. E-Z-Go President Kevin Holleran said the company hasn’t made a concerted sales effort at racetracks in the past. “Now with Ganassi, I would anticipate we’ll be able to do that much, much better,” he said.

The company’s Bad Boy Buggies ATV brand will be the primary sponsor of races at Talladega and Charlotte. Holleran said that the sponsorship is designed to raise awareness of Bad Boy Buggies among NASCAR fans who hunt. “There’s a great opportunity there,” he said.

> SYLVANIA RENEWS: New Hampshire Motor Speedway announced a five-year renewal with its longtime race title sponsor Sylvania. The lighting company has sponsored the Sylvania 300 race in the fall at New Hampshire since 2003. Its renewal will take the sponsorship through 2017.

> THE CHAIRMAN’S CLUB: Speedway Motorsports Inc. is creating 100 high-end ticket packages that cost $10,000 and give buyers premium access to 13 NASCAR race weekends at all eight of the company’s racetracks. The package, which is being called the Chairman’s Club, gives buyers suite seats, VIP garage tours, access to the pit, drivers’ meetings and victory lane, camping space, front-row parking and personal concierge service.
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