For fans, racing is about action and personalities. For marketing professionals, racing is about connections and reach. In a perfect motorsports sponsorship, companies that sponsor race teams work with the team’s other sponsors to cross-promote the team’s charm and educate more customers about all their brands.
Steven Beaty,President of Bilstein USA, gives an example, “When we sponsored Ryan Beat, we got a lot of value from our logo being on the hood and doors of Ryan’s truck. But, even better, we got surprise added value when General Tires produced a television commercial using Ryan’s truck and aired it on NBC Sports, CBS, and MAVTV. We got thousands of dollars of media value from being included in General Tires’ TV commercials.”
One of the most valuable aspects of sponsorship is also one of the least to be taken advantage of—leveraging reach through other sponsors.
Shawn Stewart, who runs the United States Motorsports Association,tells a story about when he sold sponsorships, “I worked with a team that was in construction. We wrote nearly the entire sponsorship from our vendors.The program was based on hospitality events and having an experience at the track. They wrote millions in new business derived from relationships established at the track. The sponsorship had absolutely nothing to do with on-track performance. The racing was the five-hour event they needed to build B2B relationships. It was very strategic, very planned out, and very calculated. Ithink the team had one top 10 finish in two years, but the sponsorship worked extremely well. The sponsor didn't care about fans, they wanted to reach other sponsors.”
Companies can also use motorsports to reward partners, such as distributors and retailers.
Passthrough rights are a great way to give channel partners added value by including their logos on the race car and letting their special guests into the hot pits or on the track. Everyone’s first time on a racetrack is an unforgettable experience. Marketers can engrain their message into customer’s minds forever with unique VIP access that few in the world ever get.
The intangible value of a good racing sponsorship is worth many times it’s cost if all the team’s sponsors work together to promote each other.