Auto Racing Team Sponsors
The sheer frenzy of NASCAR events gives us fans no time to stop and think! What makes the circuit work? How are drivers paid? Where do investments come from for tracks and how are they returned? Not all of us are economists and from business schools, so is it our business to bother with such questions? Should we just not stay with the fun of the track? Why gum up the works?
No one can force us to think through on these things, but the questions will not go away. We may pay more for our recreation than we know. Sponsorship is at the heart of NASCAR. The automobile manufacturers get fairly obvious returns, but what of others who are in lines of business unrelated to that of NASCAR? The truth is that we sell our minds. Many NASCAR fans may find that there are no rational reasons to support the brands they do. The billboards and brand names can wash our brains, and we may be suckers for life!
What would happen to NASCAR without sponsors? The answer is like a bed of nails, for who wants to pay more for the NASCAR circuit? High entry prices are certain dampeners for spectators, and we may be forced to switch loyalties. The sponsorship equation seems to work well, but does it? Are people dipping their hands in to our pockets without our knowledge? No one will admit it, but the arithmetic will not go away.
Branding is a pillar of the American way of life, but are we really free as consumers? Let us not spoil the party, but let us not get taken for a ride either! Think of your purchase decisions-advertisements are fine if they make you aware of what is available, but do not let them sucker you-be an aware consumer. Hopefully, you do not spend big bucks on products and services simply because they make tall claims when your mind is focused on the NASCAR action, but who knows? So pause for awhile and think things through when you reach for the plastic again!
Sponsors are companies or businesses that finance a project for another person or group in return for the opportunity to advertise their product or products. Auto racing teams make extensive use of sponsors, and why not? In the words of NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace, “If you sponsor my race car, you’re going to get on TV, and you’re going to sell your product.”
Auto racing sponsors are mainly multinational consumer product companies who are willing to invest large sums of money into an auto racing team in exchange for the right to prominently advertise their name, logo and products. Special agreements are signed between the auto racing sponsor and the racing team. Advertising includes placing the racing sponsor’s logo and corporate name on the race car, the driver and the pit crew’s clothing as well as on team transport vehicles. Companies that have taken a particular interest in auto racing sponsorship are those in businesses with some relation to auto racing, such as the makers of motor oil, car tires and batteries. However, even drug, food and telecommunications companies are getting into the act, and competition is fierce when companies compete to sponsor the top teams and racing drivers. One drug company recently paid $14 million to sponsor an established racing team. According to star driver Jeff Gordon, “You have no idea the things I’ve been approached with. We turn down 10 times as many things as we accept”.
In the high-powered world of auto racing where cars run on dollars as much as they do on gasoline, sponsors are an integral part of any winning race team.