Although many headlines point to sponsors either leaving the sport or not yet renewing, recent talks with George Pyne and Jim Gallagher, both top executives at IMG World, the noted sports and entertainment agency with offices around the world, point to “recession-bred” opportunities in motorsports marketing for well run Fortune 500 companies.
Both Pyne and Gallagher feel that the current economic downtrend, which Pyne calls the worst recession to hit in 50 years, will turn around.
They also indicate that profitable companies previously thinking about entering motorsports to put to use its “excellent track record for moving product,” are taking a second, more serious look.
IMG represents some of the premier brands in motorsports, including the NHRA, John Force Racing, Jeff Gordon, Danica Patrick and Joe Gibbs Racing. Add names like Roger Federer in tennis and Tiger Woods in golf, and it’s clear these executives are working with the top branding names worldwide. Both feel the current “rocky road” will continue for a while, but things will turn up, as they usually do in economic cycles.
• The recent announcement of Dewalt Tools leaving Matt Kenseth, and the subsequent move of fellow Roush Fenway sponsor Crown Royal to Kenseth’s Ford for 2010, leaves Jamie McMurray in the dubious “available” position.
Look for McMurray to hook up somewhere, the top rumor currently an Earnhardt Ganassi contract to drive what will be the Martin Truex-less No. 1 car next year.
• Even with the economy in its present condition and some short tracks closing, there have been some bright spots. George Swansbrough’s Shangri-La II, a brand new full concrete half mile in Tioga Center, New York, is up and running. It sits adjacent to his popular Skyview Drags, where twice weekly IHRA eighth-mile drag racing takes place. Although there are still many “finishing touches” to be completed at Shangri-La II, several races have already been presented in preparation for a full 2010 slate.
Following its first weekend show July 4-5, it’s been running weekly ever since, although some weeks Shangri-La II runs on Sunday, other times it’s a Saturday.
Swansbrough, along with track director Amy Stilson, run an ASA-sanctioned show of modifieds, sportsman modifieds, late models and street stocks.
Shangri-La II will be a great facility when all spectator amenities and racer needs are completed. Additionally, fellow NSSN scribe, Al Robinson, is one of the track announcers, working alongside Tom Cummings.
• Finally, we end this week where we started, with Pyne and Gallagher. Both agree that the local short-track racer should always have on hand a generic sponsor proposal outlining where the team races and the markets impacted to give to prospective sponsors.
The secret to success is lowering a race team’s weekly cost of racing via smaller sponsorships from area businesses. A generic proposal can be put together by someone with a sharp marketing background who hangs around at the race shop, so don’t go wasting hard earned money for a “professional proposal” when it’s not needed. There are Internet sites that give free information, and several businesses that cater to racing sponsorships that don’t charge much. Look one up.