NRA's NASCAR Race Sponsorship Translates Into "Very Little" During Sprint Cup Telecast
All of the "controversy" surrounding the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway "translated into very little" on Saturday night, according to Jim Utter of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Since the NRA "didn't buy advertising during the race on Fox, announcers were only obligated to mention the sponsor name once per hour" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/15). Fox' pre-race coverage did not mention the sponsorship. At the end of the race, the footage of winner Kyle Busch firing the traditional six-shooter pistols was not shown (THE DAILY). The OBSERVER's Utter wrote TMS President Eddie Gossage is "likely correct in his belief that the NRA sponsorship ... is a good fit with this area." But NASCAR has a "bigger responsibility in its role in overseeing the entire sport, which races across the country and is watched by millions on national TV." That is why NASCAR "must look out for all of its industry partners when it comes to approving sponsorships." It is "not just about the folks buying tickets at one track." It is about what is the "best policy for everyone involved -- NASCAR, tracks, fans, advertisers and TV partners" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/13).
BAD TIMING: In Ft. Worth, Gil LeBreton wrote NRA Exec VP Wayne LaPierre was essentially saying "love NASCAR, love the gun advocate group" when his group announced the race sponsorship. It is the "same kind of not-so-subtle message that the NASCAR Cup Series’ original sponsor, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., tried to send." For Saturday night’s "gun advocate sponsors ... the timing couldn’t have been better." But LeBreton asked, "Why didn’t somebody at TMS have the sense to say, 'Well, maybe this is bad timing?'" This should be a "time for debate, for reflection. Not a time to let a powerful lobby come in and flex its muscle on a nationally televised sporting event." Was it a "savvy marketing decision by Texas Motor Speedway?" In the "NASCAR vacuum, some may say so." But it was a "callous one" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 4/14).