SBJ/April 28-May 4/Marketing and Sponsorship

Lucas Oil looks to NHRA deal to boost new line

Lucas Oil, which credits its 2002 sponsorship of the NHRA for nationalizing its brand, hopes the sport can do the same for its new line of performance motor oil.

The company has finalized a three-year sponsorship extension with the NHRA that goes through 2018, and it plans to use the sponsorship assets to promote Lucas High Performance Racing Only Motor Oil.

“We want to leverage this project for the next three years and promote the racing line to hot rod enthusiasts,” said Tom Fredrickson, Lucas Oil’s chief administrative officer. “They love their cars and want to take care of them, and we want to touch them as a customer. The NHRA lets us do that.”

Under terms of the deal, Lucas Oil will retain its longtime title sponsorship of the NHRA’s sportsman series through 2018. It also keeps its position as the NHRA’s official oil, its naming rights at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, title sponsorship of the NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd, Minn., and its title sponsorship of the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, the NHRA’s second-tier series and the equivalent of NASCAR’s Nationwide Series.

The agreement also gives the company branded broadcast elements during races on ESPN2, on-site display rights, signage at races and the right to use the NHRA logo on products.

Financial terms of the agreement weren’t available, but the deal is valued in the mid-seven-figure range annually. The company spends more than $30 million a year in sports sponsorship, and the NHRA historically has been its biggest investment.

Fredrickson said that Lucas Oil plans to run advertising on ESPN that promotes its high performance racing oil. It also is revamping its on-site activation at NHRA races to highlight its motor oil. The company also plans to promote its oil additives, which is the foundation of its business.

“NHRA has been good to communicate to people why they need to have an additive,” Fredrickson said. “That will never stop. We’re just adding another layer on top of it.”

Lucas Oil acquired MavTV in 2011 and has been working to turn it into a motorsports channel. The channel is now in 25 million homes.

Fredrickson said that Lucas Oil talked to the NHRA about adding drag racing to MavTV but wasn’t able to reach an agreement for any programming because of the sport’s deal with ESPN.


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