:.: The Economy Hits NASCAR :.:
Wednesday, February 11, 2009 - 9:36pm
One of the biggest stories in Daytona has been the role of the down economy in our sport. This off-season we saw as many as 2,000 jobs eliminated, many of those coming in the way of crew members and mechanics. For a sport that has seen so much growth over the last 10 years or so, this was a devastating blow.
While many other sports rely on corporate dollars in the form of advertising to help keep them in business, none of them need those dollars like NASCAR. The only way for any of these stock cars to be on the track is if they have a company name and logo plastered all over them. And the cost of that sponsorship can be upwards of $25 million. It’s a luxury buy for any sponsor and one that I feel still has a great amount of value to those that invest in NASCAR.
Despite the squeaky clean image of its drivers and the 75 million fans that claim to be passionate and “brand Loyal” to the sport, NASCAR saw some of its historically famous names looking for help. Richard Petty, the King of NASCAR, was forced to merge with Gillette-Evernham Racing to stay alive. Sources say the King gave up much of his rights to his name and trademarks to complete the deal, which reformed as Richard Petty Motorsports. The Petty’s biggest rival during their winning years was the Wood Brother’s. Eddie Wood announced just this week that the famous No. 21 team will cut back to only 12 races in 2009 and is not interested in merging or partnering with any team. It’s an obvious sign that he wants the family business to stay intact…even if it means shutting the doors.
For the race fan, prices are coming down on such items as tickets, hotels and souvenirs. But more has to be done and soon, or the sport that made its mark on being fan friendly, will see empty seats. And empty seats look bad to that corporation sponsoring a race car.