Earlier this year, it was revealed that the National Guard spent millions on motorsports sponsorships. With the sponsorship, it reportedly was not successful in recruiting members to join.
The National Guard was previously with Panther Racing in IndyCar, before a switch in the off-season to Graham Rahal and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has had the National Guard sponsorship in NASCAR since making the switch to Hendrick Motorsports.
Now, both drivers will have to look for new sponsorships for next season and beyond.
“We were informed this afternoon that the National Guard will end all sponsorship of motorsports, including both IndyCar and NASCAR at the conclusion of the 2014 seasons,” said RLL co-owner Bobby Rahal. “This is obviously very disappointing news to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing given the significant incremental brand exposure we have worked to produce for the National Guard in our first season together, including various off-track marketing and advertising programs focused on supporting the mission set forth. We will continue to work hard to uphold the honor and integrity of the National Guard throughout the remainder of the season.
“Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing would like to thank the National Guard for allowing us the privilege of representing some of the finest men and women, those ‘citizen soldiers’ that protect our freedoms and safety each and every day… as we Focus Forward!”
The Guard is reportedly spending $32 million to sponsor Earnhardt Jr, who is in his best season since 2004 when he won six races. They are spending $12 million to sponsor Rahal, who hasn’t won this season.
“As part of a broad recruitment marketing strategy, motorsports partnerships — including NASCAR — played an important role in helping the National Guard build strong brand awareness and in turn helped us achieve extraordinary recruiting and end-strength objectives over the past decade,” said Army Guard marketing chief Lt. Col. Christian Johnson in a statement on its website Wednesday.
“Our NASCAR sponsorship was principally a marketing program, intended primarily to build awareness of the National Guard as a career option,” Johnson said. “The NASCAR sponsorship allowed the National Guard to leverage a 77 million fan base and the sport’s most popular driver.”
With months until the end of the season, this news comes at a difficult time for both teams, as they are still racing in their respective seasons. At the same time, it gives each team an opportunity to find new sponsors before the start of the 2015 season.
However with the sponsorship hard to find, as the costs of sponsorship these cars are millions each year, this may hurt them in the long run than help them.
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