Sunday, April 19, 2009

Has the Down Economy Affected NASCAR?

Whether you think NASCAR is grown men making left hand turns for three hours. Or you think NASCAR is an edge of your seat, three-hour thrill ride, you can't ignore the marketing machine it has become. From the national TV deal, to the multitude of sponsors smeared all over the tracks and cars, NASCAR has grown and so has its sponsors.

This got me thinking. In a down economy where companies are cutting advertising budgets left and right, how much of an affect would this have on NASCAR. It undoubtedly has had an affect in team mergers, team layoff, NASCAR layoffs and tracks lowering ticket prices.

Yet with race two of the season starting as I write this, the down economy hasn't had that much of an affect sponsorship wise. Sprint is still sponsoring the highest series. DuPont, Pennzoil, Budweiser, Home Depot, all the big boys are back for car sponsors. There were a couple smaller teams that had issues getting sponsors, and had to wait until the last minute for someone to step up. But they were able to get sponsorship.

Is this a testament to the popularity of NASCAR? I think it is. The majority of the sponsors are targeting males, 24-58. Who watches NASCAR? Males, 24-58. The entire race is basically a moving billboard hitting its target audience for three hours. TV viewing audiences may even increase during this down turn. With more and more people cutting back their spending, the couch and TV is becoming a more often used form of entertainment.

These companies must be seeing results from the money they are putting into their NASCAR sponsorships or they wouldn't continue putting out the money for them, especially when every penny is being scrutinized. One question I would love to know the answer to, is whether or not the race teams had to drop their sponsorship prices? This isn't public information, so there is no way for me to find out. But I wonder; if in an attempt to keep the loyal sponsor, did the teams drop their asking price?

The Ultimate Account Guy

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