Sunday, May 3, 2009

Our Tax Money and NASCAR Racing


Army Official says sponsorships worth money
: The U.S. Army will pay Stewart-Haas Racing $11.6 million to sponsor Ryan Newman's #39 car for 23 races this season, and the Army official who oversees it says the money is worth it. Army and National Guard (#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.) were the only branches of the military that served as primary sponsors for cars in Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway. Lt. Gen. Benjamim Freakley said the Army looks at different ways to determine if the sponsorship is worthwhile but admits it comes down to one thing. "At the end of the day, for the Army, it's does someone join the Army or not," Freakley said. He said 41 people agreed Saturday at the Army's booth at the track to be interviewed by an Army recruiter. "That's powerful," Freakley said. Army sponsorship is a year-to-year agreement. Because Congress controls the money that goes to the military, the budget can fluctuate from year to year. That, Freakley says, makes it challenging to do multi-year deals. He said he won't know his budget until this summer. He said he and his group have started to assess the sponsorship and what they want to do for 2010 but no decisions have been made.

Are any sponsorships "worth the money?" In my opinion, no. Most are hoaxes perpetrated by Madison Avenue. Corporations waste billions each year on advertising, be it NASCAR or the Superbowl. In the case of the military branches I see not reason for them to spend millions on NASCAR sponsorships. Over the last several years most, if not all of the various branches, have bought sponsorships in race teams and wasted those millions of tax dollars.

The Army rep. says that 41 people signed up at their booth. They pay $11 million to have a booth? I know that NASCAR is a money hog, but surely something could be worked out for the military to recruit at races without paying millions for the opportunity. The NASCAR world usually trends to the right politically, or so it claims, so there should be no problem with military recuiting on site.

My guess is that recruiters would do the same amount of business at NASCAR races even if they did not have a team sponsorship. Twenty-two million dollars would buy a lot of body armor for our soldiers in harms way. I certainly hope that the President's people will take a long look at the value of this activity and force the military branches to put it to a much better use.


Dennis Lynn said...

Very few organizations / companies would spend money on advertising that doesn't yield a return on their investment. In general advertising and marketing is money very well spent - ESPECIALLY in NASCAR. There has been study after study after study that would back that up. Many of the most conservative (fiscally) companies in the country rely on NASCAR as a big part of their advertising and marketing mix. Do some waste money? Probably. Are some companies not run well? Sure. I would say the military is getting their bang for the buck with their NASCAR participation.

Georgia Mountain Man said...

More and more NASCAR teams are having trouble landing sponsors. Businesses are realizing that they do NOT get the bang for the bucks. It simply isn't worth an average of over $20 million per team per year.

Diane J Standiford said...

Unbelievable. What will high school grads think of next? Oh right, WWF. I don't get racing cars. I think advertisers use it to reach a target audience. I better stop now oh I'll just sound snobby and mean. (The companies probably are run by macho wannabees----oooo, our co. on a fast car!)

Anonymous said...

I am concerned as well. These two Army agencies, U S Army Accessions Command and U S Army Recruiting Command, have experienced 17 Army Recruiter suicides from 2001 - Jan 2009, and several more since then. The last one was outside the Recruiting Station in Alameda, CA. The Army Recruiter worked for the Fresno, CA Recruiting Battalion. To me, this is insane - to pay multi millions of dollars for a sticker on a race car when these two Army Agencies still have not figured out yet how to prevent their own combat vets - now desk jockeys and salesmen from committing suicide. God rest their souls. I hope LG Benjamin Freakley gets a handle on the tragic problem soon and considers transferring money from NASCAR to development of stronger suicide prevention programs. Thank you.