May 21, 2009 at 12:46 PM
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U.S. Army Sees Record ROI from non-existent IRL Sponsorship

Eyewitness news' unscientific sponsor recall study brings up a good question - with all of those logos going round and round, who gets noticed and why? In this piece, the Army got some recall for $0 while silly National Guard is out paying six or seven figures. But that isn't the point of the piece so let's set that aside for a moment. We'll agree that IRL sponsorships (along with motorsports, sports in general and pretty much anyone or anything else clawing at a marketing budget right now) are a tougher sell. We know racing's expensive, but multi-million dollar fees don't make the sale any easier - according to WTHR, the ABC affiliate in Indianapolis, you're looking at $2 to $5 mil for primary sponsorship on an IRL car, $20 million for NASCAR and $30-50 million for F1.

For that kind of dough you better be able to measure it right? That's where the good folks at IEG, Joyce Julius and others come in.

According to Joyce Julius, Danica Patrick and her sponsor Go Daddy are the most valuable team on the IRL, netting close to $15 million for her team and sponsors.

So do the sponsorships work?

Like everything else in this business, it depends on the price, your goals, what you do with the investment and how you measure it. The ROI for the Children's Museum's King Tut exhibit and Alex Tagliani is going to look a lot different than Sarah Fisher and Dollar General. One thing's for sure, you've got to go off track to get bang for your buck. Racers are some of the most personable athletes in the world and as the piece points out "the drivers are also chief salesmen." It's important to leverage them across multiple consumer and b to b touch points whether it be at the track, in-store, public relations, employee functions, business to business sales calls, etc.

Jeremy Brilliant (great reporter name) from WTHR in Indianapolis reports on the struggles of IRL drivers to track down sponsors (and the struggles of some race fans to name them).