BUSCH: Anheuser-Busch out of Busch series after 2007

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Anheuser-Busch will not serve at the title sponsor of the Busch Series after the 2007 season, multiple sources have confirmed. Andrew Giangola, NASCAR's Director of Business Communications, also confirmed that Anheuser-Busch had decided to end...

Anheuser-Busch will not serve at the title sponsor of the Busch Series after the 2007 season, multiple sources have confirmed.

Andrew Giangola, NASCAR's Director of Business Communications, also confirmed that Anheuser-Busch had decided to end their affiliation in the Busch Series to concentrate on their Cup series sponsorship of the No. 8 Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated Chevrolet piloted by Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

"The NASCAR Busch series will have a new sponsor in 2008, they will be with us through 2007," said Giangola. "The Busch brand has decided to pursue a different marketing direction, they are already in the sport in such a significant way -- both Budweiser and Busch have a huge presence in NASCAR -- they wanted to clarify and focus on their Budweiser brand.

"AB was a terrific partner and they have always marketed NASCAR in a responsible way. Because they had multiple brands in NASCAR we expect the new sponsor to be able to promote the series that really raises its stature."

In addition, Tony Ponturo, Anheuser-Busch's Vice President of Global Media and Sports Marketing, told the Sports Business Journal that it was AB's decision to withdraw as sponsor of the Busch Series. Last year, Ponturo foreshadowed this decision by stating that AB was reevaluating the sponsorships overall worth within his company.

Analysts predict that a new sponsorship deal could be worth more than $30 million a year, three times what the sponsorship now costs.

The Busch series was born from NASCAR's old Sportsman division, which was formed in 1950. It became the Late Model Sportsman series in 1968. The modern-day Busch Series was formed in 1982, when Anheuser-Busch sponsored a late-model sportsman series under the Budweiser brand. The series switched sponsorship to represent its Busch brand of beer in 1984. It was renamed in 1986 to the Busch Grand National Series.

Beginning in 2007, ABC, and ESPN2 will be the exclusive television network of all Busch Series races.

A more demographically friendly sponsor will be courted for the series title sponsor. Much like the NASCAR Cup series moving away from an allegiance to cigarettes to mobile phones; NASCAR hopes to distance themselves from booze to a more family oriented marketing partner. Names being batted around the NASCAR New York marketing office include Wal-Mart, Samsung and Subway.

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Series AUTOMOTIVE , NASCAR-NS