a new multi-year deal with Mobil 1 to be the leading sponsor for 11 races per year starting in 2011. Mobil 1 joins Burger King and Office Depot as the leading sponsors of Stewart’s race cars.
On the surface, this looks like a solid move for Stewart, adding a strong traditional sponsor. But deeper, this move could be a bad sign for the state of sponsorships in NASCAR as a whole.
Mobil 1 replaced Old Spice who announced back in May that they were changing their marketing strategies and would no longer be a major sponsor on the NASCAR circuit. The move ended an 11-year relationship with Stewart.
Mobil 1 is an example of one of the many NASCAR sponsors that are from within the auto industry. These are the sponsors that will always stick with NASCAR even during tough economic times. But when Stewart-Haas racing was unable to land another non-auto industry sponsor, despite the presence of one of NASCAR’s most colourful and successful drivers, it is a terrible sign that other teams will struggle to find and keep sponsorships of their own.
After all, there are only so many chairs at the auto-industry table.
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