As seen on Speedwaymedia.com
By Joe Dunn firstname.lastname@example.org
When Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced a few months back that he had inked a deal to drive for Rick Hendrick starting in 2008 insiders knew that Budweiser would not follow. That fact was confirmed when Anheuser Busch announced their move to the Gillett Evernham Motorsports #9 with driver Kasey Kahne.
Kasey has proved to be a popular driver and showed a lot of promise in 2006, but 2007 has been a dismal season for Kasey as well as the rest of the GEM teams. To many it seemed like a sign of the down turn of Budweiser in NASCAR. After 10 seasons as the Official Beer of NASCAR and sponsor of the Bud Pole Award they are not renewing those license agreements. Earlier in the year it was also revealed that Busch will not be back as the title sponsor of the Nascar Busch Series in 2008. So, how much is the Budweiser image going to shrink?
In an announcement Tuesday September 25, Coors Light will become the Official Beer of NASCAR and the sponsor of the Pole Award, to be named the Coors Light Pole Award. Another big question to surface is about the Bud shootout and that reveals another twist in the whole sponsor game. There WILL be a BUD SHOOTOUT in 2008, sponsored by Budweiser. Although the Pole Award is used as the basis to qualify for the Shootout, they are separate packages.
According to Andrew Giangola, Director of Business Communications for NASCAR, the sponsorship of the Pole Award and the Official Beer title are licensed entities of NASCAR, while the Bud Shootout is a Daytona Speedway / ISC property and licensed by ISC. I spoke with David Talley of ISC and was informed that the contract with Anheuser Busch was valid through the 2008 season. That contract is up for negotiations after 2008 with nothing being discussed at this point. So what that means is that despite the loss of the Pole Award, the Bud Shootout could continue after 2008. This makes for a subject of a lot of speculation over the next several months, because if there is movement out there on the issue, it is not being talked about.
Another Big question pertains to the title sponsorship of NASCAR’s second tier, now known as the NASCAR Busch series. “The deal bringing in Coors Light as official beer of NASCAR is totally separate from continuing discussions for a new title partner to NASCAR Busch Series in 2008.” said Giangola, “There’s strong interest in that position, which will provide a sponsor with more than $200 million in annual exposure value, and discussions are ongoing. The most important thing is to find the right partner who can continue to elevate our #2 series. We hope to announce a new partner before the end of the 2007 season.”
So if your headed to Daytona in February you better stock up on both Bud and Coors Light because they will both have a major presence there.