The Congressional fight over sports sponsorships behind it, the National Guard announced today that it would continue as the primary sponsor of the Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR Sprint Cup Series program in 2013.
The sponsorship deal for the #88 Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt Jr. is likely to be reduced from the $26.5 million budgeted for its NASCAR program in 2012, although that number does not solely reflect just the money paid to Hendrick Motorsports.
That number also includes display space at NASCAR tracks for the program, as well as travel costs for a fleet of show cars that make appearances everywhere from auto shows to county fairs. The National Guard’s overall marketing budget was cut for 2013 from $54.5 million to $24.5 million, but the lion’s share of that is expected to go toward its Cup program.
The 2013 deal gives the National Guard the primary sponsor position on the #88 car for 20 races next year including the Daytona 500, and what is termed ‘prominent brand placement’ for the remaining races.
“National Guard Citizen Soldiers represent the more than 3,200 communities across the United States in which they live, work and serve their state and the nation,” said Lt. Col. Michael Wegner, marketing branch chief, Army National Guard. “What NASCAR gives us is a national marketing platform that also can be leveraged at that local level, touching recruiters, potential recruits and influencers. With our all-volunteer military and rigorous enlistment standards, it plays a key role in increasing the awareness of what the Guard does and the many career opportunities and benefits it offers.”
The renewal will mark the seventh consecutive season that the National Guard’s has been a part of the Hendrick Motorsports team, beginning with its sponsorship of Casey Mears in the #25 car in 2007. The 2013 deal gives the Guard two more races as the primary sponsor than the 2012 contract provided.
“It’s an honor to be associated with the National Guard and its Citizen Soldiers,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “Like many of the world’s most innovative marketers and leading brands, the Guard sees the opportunities that our sport presents, and they have built a strong effort around it. As we go into 2013 together, we’ll continue to focus on the performance of the program both on and off the racetrack.”