Sprint Inks Title Sponsorship For NASCAR Season Opener, Previously Bud Shootout
Sprint has signed a multiyear deal to sponsor the NASCAR Sprint Cup season-opening race at Daytona Int'l Speedway, which was formerly known as the Budweiser Shootout and will now "become the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona," according to Tripp Mickle of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Sources valued the deal “in the mid-six figures annually.” DIS President Joie Chitwood III “approached Sprint with the opportunity last year.” The sponsorship became available after Gatorade “opted to discontinue its sponsorship of the annual Duels race that serves as the qualifier for the Daytona 500.” Budweiser signed on to sponsor the Duels, but Chitwood said that he “never met with any other potential sponsors” besides Sprint. Chitwood said of Sprint, “The relationship they have with NASCAR and the drivers means they can do some things promotionally other partners couldn’t” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/7 issue). In Daytona Beach, Godwin Kelly noted the newly named Sprint Unlimited “started as the Busch Clash in 1979 and has gone through numerous makeovers through the years.” The Busch-Budweiser brands “were previous sponsors of the race.” Budweiser last season announced that it “would be the title sponsor for all of Speedweeks," starting this year. Chitwood yesterday said Sprint would “be a really good fit long term.” Sprint said that it plans to make the Sprint Unlimited "a fan-friendly event.” Fans will be “picked to serve as grand marshal, honorary starter and trophy presenter.” Sprint VP/Marketing Steve Gaffney said, “From the outset, we promised unprecedented access for race fans and each year, we challenge ourselves to honor that commitment in innovative ways.” DIS said that Sprint “hasn't finalized its plans for all of the pre-race activities” (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 1/8).