Dale Earnhardt Jr. is just one big name in NASCAR who is looking for sports sponsorship deals. The son of legendary Dale Sr. is in need of a primary sponsor for about one-third of his 36 Sprint Cup races this season. The perfect sponsorship deal has yet to arise for Earnhardt and team owner Rick Hendrick. Both remain patient, hoping the right deal will eventually drop into their laps.
Also seeking sports sponsorship deals is three-time Cup champ Tony Stewart. Stewart-Haas Racing — owned and operated by Stewart — has around 20 races spread out over three cars that need a top sponsor. The lack of sports sponsorship deals for two prominent NASCAR names could potentially mean that big name corporations are not interested in sponsoring NASCAR or this could solely be linked to the team’s stubborn nature, as they seek the perfect deal before signing on the dotted line.
“We’re just looking for the right corporations that are a good fit for us, that are long-term, that want to be in the sport for a while,” said Earnhardt Jr. “You don’t just take the first guy that comes along.” “You have to think about what’s good for his image,” said Hendrick. “Some of that has stopped us. There’s been a lot of interest.”
Drivers could be hampered by NASCAR policy which states communications companies like AT&T are not eligible for sponsorship deals because of Sprint’s exclusive naming rights arrangement for the Cup series. Also, big tobacco sponsorship money is no longer welcome in NASCAR. It is rare for a driver to find a full sponsorship deal with a company, but it is possible. Danica Patrick potentially has Go Daddy aboard for the entire season as her primary sponsor, so it can be done.
NASCAR is still among the best ‘bang-for-your-buck’ value in sports, which is why it makes little to no sense that star names like Earnhardt Jr. and Stewart cannot find the sponsors they need. Maybe it’s time to take a step back for these owners and go with what is available instead of what is preferred. They could be digging their own financial graves by leaving these races unattended from a sports sponsorship point of view. A big financial mistake in my opinion.
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