Smithfield Foods Extends Sponsorship With Stewart-Haas
Smithfield Foods has extended its primary sponsorship deal with Stewart-Haas Racing for the '20 NASCAR Cup Series season, locking up an important renewal for the team. Terms were not revealed for the deal. But Smithfield had around 30 primaries this year on SHR's No. 10 Ford driven by Aric Almirola, and the company is believed to be buying a similar round next year, although a source said it could be slightly less. A deal of that size typically would cost more than $10M annually and is still one of the larger team sponsor commitments in the series, which has 36 races a year. SHR has also given an extension to Almirola, whose deal expired after this year and who has been a longtime partner with Smithfield dating to '12. Virginia-based/Hong Kong-owned Smithfield is the largest pork producer in the world, and the company has seen NASCAR as a viable platform both because its fans over-index in eating protein and because of the B2B opportunities. Almirola and Smithfield switched from Richard Petty Motorsports to SHR starting with the '18 season.
HIGH ON THE HOG: Smithfield Senior Marketing Dir Michael Merritt: "The Smithfield brand has enjoyed great success with Aric Almirola and Stewart-Haas Racing. It's a true partnership that performs on the racetrack, with retailers and our consumers. Aric resonates well with them because he's genuine and, overall, a great ambassador for the company." Smithfield has used its paint schemes to activate different promotions and occasionally even different brands that it owns. For example, it is promoting a "Racin' for Bacon" bacon-for-life sweepstakes where it will give away one million slices of bacon in total between 10 winners.
SORTING IT OUT: SHR is still working to resolve a couple other sponsor/driver situations for its '20 lineup. Clint Bowyer's deal to drive the No. 14 Ford expires after this year, but he is likely to return, while Daniel Suarez' deal to drive the No. 41 Ford is also up after this year. Suarez' return is seen as less certain at this stage as he continues to work on finalizing sponsorship. Rising Xfinity Series driver Cole Custer, who has won a series best seven races so far this year, would likely replace Suarez if the Mexico native was dropped.