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Volume 21 No. 1
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NASCAR revamps sponsorship unit

NASCAR is restructuring its sponsorship sales and servicing division by dissolving its automotive group and spreading the group’s responsibilities and staff across four new divisions.

The move comes 14 months after NASCAR elevated Jim O’Connell to chief sales officer and give him oversight of NASCAR’s Charlotte-based licensing division and automotive group, which managed the sport’s contingency program and auto partners Toyota, GM, Ford, Dodge, Exide Batteries, McLaren Electronic Systems and others.

O’Connell thought it would be more efficient to have the automotive group spread across three of NASCAR Properties’ four divisions: partnership marketing, marketing platforms, business development and licensing.

Partnership marketing, which will be run by New York-based NASCAR Vice President Norris Scott, will oversee service and renewal of auto partners, as well as the sport’s traditional sponsors such as Gillette, Mars and Office Depot.

Marketing platforms, a new group that will be overseen by New York-based Matt Shulman, who was promoted to managing director, will work to develop new assets for existing and new sponsors and add the expertise of Charlotte-based Liz Schlosser, currently a senior specialist for licensing, and Dave Kobuszewski, director of marketing, NASCAR Automotive Group.

Business development, which will be overseen by managing director Sean Downes, will add Todd Armstrong, NASCAR Automotive Group managing director, to its team and take over sales for the automotive category and NASCAR’s contingency program.

Outside of the auto responsibilities, NASCAR’s vice president of licensing and consumer products, Blake Davidson, will continue to oversee that group from Charlotte.

“By doing this, we’re creating more value for our current partners and giving new companies more opportunities to come into the sport,” O’Connell said.

The restructuring is NASCAR’s fourth in two years. Since August 2010, the sanctioning body has reorganized its communications division, its executive ranks, its broadcast division and now its properties group. In the process, it has seen a number of top executives depart, including Paul Brooks, president of NASCAR Media Group; Jay Abraham, chief operating officer of NASCAR Media Group; and Ramsey Poston, the former managing director of corporate communications.

As part of the NASCAR Properties changes, the sanctioning body is letting go of three of more than 70 employees in the group.

“Any time you have a reorganization and are creating efficiencies, there’s an opportunity to staff more appropriately,” O’Connell said.

O’Connell said the NASCAR Properties group is in “good discussions” with potential sponsors in traditional, green and technology categories.