National Guard Associaton President Said Group Must Prove Value In Sports Sponsorships
National Guard Association President Retired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett Jr. said that the organization “must do a better job of proving the value of its sport sponsorships, including with Dale Earnhardt Jr. in NASCAR, or it should get out of them,” according to Dustin Long of USA TODAY. Congress’ vote of 216-202 against an amendment to end military spending on sports sponsorships “was closer than votes last year defeating similar amendments,” and momentum “appears to be growing for such an amendment.” U.S. Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) whose district “abuts Daytona International Speedway, voted against the amendment last year but supported it Wednesday.” Mica said, “Every year the deficit is getting worse. The military has to look at ways to cut at funds.” However, Hargett said that U.S. Reps Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) and Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) were “relying on ‘bad data’ in their quest to end military sports sponsorships that also include the Guard’s sponsorship of J.R. Hildebrand in the Izod IndyCar Series” (USA TODAY, 7/20). In Charlotte, Franco Ordonez reports U.S. Reps Larry Kissell (D-N.C.), Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) were among “the most vocal members who advocated continued recruitment spending and rejected” the amendment. Kissell said that the relationship NASCAR has with the military “would be tough to replicate elsewhere if cuts were made.” But Kingston in his argument to end the sponsorships “questioned the effectiveness of the money spent.” He said that the National Guard received “24,800 inquiries because of the racing sponsorship” in FY ’12, but only 20 “were qualified, and none joined the guard.” McHenry “countered that the National Guard saw a nearly 300 percent return on its investment” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 7/20).
MAN IN THE MIRROR: SPORTING NEWS’ Bob Pockrass wrote this is “not the time for a lot of congratulations and pats on the back for surviving another round with Congress.” It is time for NASCAR "to look in the mirror." Pockrass: "It’s time for the top executives in the sport to figure out not just why politicians are voting for the military to get out of motorsports but why major corporations also have cut back their spending in NASCAR.” Mica was among the “most notable to swing his support toward the amendment.” That should “send shivers down the spines of NASCAR officials at the sport’s headquarters in Daytona Beach.” NASCAR needs to “find ways to produce better results for sponsors and make even the most skeptical people take a second look” at the sport (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 7/19).