Sponsorship funding is more important to motorsports than to any other sport. The business relationship built between the race teams and marketing partners is vital. But most importantly, what the marketer wants is consumers and when the health of the economy is as poor as it has been been during the Great Recession, the sport suffers. But there may be a change in the wind.
It can be argued that the recession is still alive and well – when you delve into the real facts of the economy here in the United States, much of what is needed to revive the countries viability is nowhere in sight. However, the ingenuity of businesses in this nation is quite amazing and it may be paying off … at least for the motorsports world. Making the dollar work more for everyone is paramount.
Fans of motorsports are quite a bit more loyal than for any other sport so the feasibility for businesses to market to potential customers is quite good (source – Eagle2Team.com). There have been some recent business deals between teams and corporations that may be good news for the industry.
As I mentioned a week or so ago (see related articles), Penske Racing received an extension of the Miller sponsorship on the #2 Dodge driven by Brad Keselowski. Another team that received extensions for all their cars is Joe Gibbs Racing with primary partners FedEx, Home Depot and M&M’s. Yes, M&M’s who didn’t want Kyle Busch driving the car at the end of last season after all the turmoil Kyle created. I’m sure Kyle will be on a short leash.
NASCAR themselves has a contract extension from their title sponsor Sprint to put a boost in their sails. That may or may not have been the result of NASCAR announcing that there had been an increase in television ratings for 2011.
It’s been said that GoDaddy has very big dollars attached to Danica Patrick’s program. So no, the rumor of GoDaddy pulling their sponsorships when they were bought by private equity firms last year was erroneous.
Remember GoDaddy didn’t move their sponsorship when Patrick left IndyCar (see related articles). I might add that IndyCar has also shown to be adding more teams and sponsors, so the industry as a whole may finally be earning and getting their due … perceptions be damned.
More for less
More teams are being funded by more sponsors but with less regularity, meaning the paint shop and sticker machines are working overtime to keep pace with the different marketing partners from race-to-race. Richard Childress said recently that he will have over three dozen sponsors on his three cars (source – CNBC). Non-endemic (non-automotive related) businesses are more the norm than ever before such as last year’s newest additions suggest: AARP Foundation, Freescale Semiconductor and Quicken Loans.
What may be happening is that race teams have finally come to an understanding of what building a true marketing partnership means. You take $25 million from a sponsor, build a new building, buy a jet and enjoy life … uh, no. That money has to work for the marketer, plain and simple. The gravy train is done and gone. Stretching dollars is what makes business last in these recessional days.
So too have both the marketers and the race teams learn that business-to-business dealings using the motorsports platform for a variety of programs, may be just as important as the obvious visual advertising. A new dawn in motorsports marketing may be here.
Of course the value and cost of running a NASCAR Sprint Cup team has dropped due in part to the recession. And making investment dollars stretch is key now. But surely the new interest in NASCAR by sponsors is a glimpse into what the new values are and what they bring to brands. This is certainly good marketing news in what otherwise is still a tough economy.
Sources – NASCAR, Yahoo! Sports, Penske Racing
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Daryle has been involved in motorsports most of his life and has three decades of experience inside racemarketing, plus blogged about every type of racing for several years.