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Discussion Starter #1
Since it seems that the word ?control? is such a hot-button term around here, it might be a good idea to explore the word and its meaning a little more deeply as it applies to motorsports and sponsorship

BTW, since it seems that my use of the terms, I, we, me, and the AFR seems to confuse people so I am no longer going to use any reference to rally or the AFR when I make my posts. All of my points can be illustrated using a ficticious company and I will use NASCAR for all of my examples since their inner-workings are fairly well-known and therefore easy to understand.

First I stand by my statement that any sponsor gets some degree of control over the team or organization they are sponsoring. He is a clip from an earlier post.

"All sponsors of any kind get some sort of control. If (a company) were to sponsor your car (they) would be able to tell you who your driver/co-driver will or won't be, what events you will run, how you will paint your car, etc. If you didn't let (them) then you would get no sponsorship. That's control."

The same goes in NASCAR. If I were the owner of ACME cellular and I sponsored a car in the Winston Cup series I would have almost complete control over what that team did. If I didn?t like a crew member they would be removed even though they work for the race team and not directly for me. I could tell the team how to paint the car, what events to enter, and pick who the driver would be. There are almost no limits on the demands a sponsor in the Winston Cup series can make.

The series sponsors work the same way. Nextel has a lot of control over how the series is run. Use the above example. Let?s say you were a team owner who was one day away from shutting his doors due to lack of sponsorship. Let?s say I, as the owner of ACME Cellular, came to you and offered you 20 million dollars to run a car for me next year. You are saved, right?

Wrong! Nextel, as the series sponsor, has the power to prevent other competiting phone companies from participating in the series. ACME can't come in. You lose your sponsor and your family starves. Is that fair? Not if you are the team owner. But that?s the way it is in every form of professional motorsports in the world.

Another example, let?s say Nextel wants to keep the Winston Million All-Star race. But they want to re-name the Nextel Million. Done. Oh by the way, since Nextel?s HQ is in Virginia they want to move the race from Charlotte to Richmond. Guess what? It will be done too. Does Lowe?s Motor Speedway get screwed out of millions of dollars in the process? Yes. That?s business. It?s another form of control. There are also numerous examples of sponsor control in the rulebook as well. In fact, if pressed, I can give you hours upon hours of examples of sponsor control in professional motorsports.

But it isn?t as simple as that. I have only illustrated the sponsor?s control. I'm surprised no one really called me on that specifically.

The truth is that EVERYONE involved in the sport has control over it. If the team owners are unhappy they can refuse to enter the races and the sport goes under. If the drivers refuse to drive the cars the race can?t go on and the sport goes under. If the fans refuse to come to the races or watch them on TV no-one will sponsor them and the sport goes under. The sanctioning body can control a lot as well.

Everyone has an equal amount of control over the sport. It?s like a big game of paper/rock/scissors. No one entity can survive alone or defeat another.

It all comes to a head, however, at the sanctioning body. They are the ones that have to keep this wide variety of people, with all of their conflicting views, happy enough to keep them coming back. NASCAR has done a great job with this over the past 30 years despite all the problems they faced along the way. Sanctioning bodies have the toughest job of all.

Everyone who reads this forum has control over the sport of rally. I still stand by my other statement that I haven't yet met anyone in this sport, no matter what side of the issue, who I thought was evil or was trying to do the sport harm for their own personal gain.

Sponsoring in motorsports is a lot like buying a stock. A sponsor invests their money at the beginning of the year. That money is spent no matter what happens that year. If the series gets bigger, and more people participate, watch it on TV, go to an event, or it gets a lot more media coverage then the value of that "stock" went up. You got more than you paid for. The opposite can happen too. I don't think that any of the people involved in CART this year really felt that it was a good investment. Maybe some of the minor players but not the major ones.

Series sponsors have a stake in improving the series. That means they want close racing, lots of competitors, drama, fans, media, and tv ratings. Smart sponsors know they have to try to take care of everyone involved with their sanctioning body to make that happen.

Greg
 

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> Smart sponsors know they have to try to take care of everyone involved with their sanctioning body to make that happen.

In turn, I think the sanctioning body needs to "take care of" the event organizers. Without good events, the sponsor $ will go down the drain.

The WW roads are some of the best in the country. I hope they continue to be part of some national championship.

Glenn
 

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It should also be pointed out that the amount of 'control' should be(and most likely is),directly proportional to the amount of sponsorship. as a club level rallyist, your not going to get much control over my team for a $50 sponsorship (we would probably let you control the location of your decal, as long as there are not conflicts). On the other hand, cut us a check for $50,000 and I'll paint the car pink and glue rabbit ears and a fluffy bunny tail on it if that's what you want :+
 

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>cut us a check for $50,000 and I'll paint the car
>pink and glue rabbit ears and a fluffy bunny tail on it if
>that's what you want :+

Where do i send my check?
 

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>Series sponsors have a stake in improving the series. That
>means they want close racing, lots of competitors, drama,
>fans, media, and tv ratings. Smart sponsors know they have
>to try to take care of everyone involved with their
>sanctioning body to make that happen.

The Organisers have not been taken care of. They spend countless THOUSANDS of hours of their own free time so people can complete. This is what separates Rallying from the other sports you have mentioned. Organisers are basically volunteers and not business owners. I'm not aware of even one organiser that gets paid even minimum wage for their time.

Rim pulled out of the 2003 series, and then was talked back in. They gave very specific reasons why they initialy were not going to participate as a ProRally in 2003. The Sanctioning body was a major part of this.

Now Wild West is turned away in 2004.

I don't want to turn this into an East West thing, but it seems to me that things are heading that way rather quickly, and SCCA is at the front of it.

The number of ProRally entrants went down this year.

I think enough of the ClubRally participants that used to also run Pro, aren't interested in subsizing Pro events anymore, and will just run Club or perhaps boycott Pro Events to prove a point. I don't think an organiser could put on an event with a field of 5 cars. And if its just the 5 cars running, why not just make commercials on gravel roads, its cheaper that way.

Seems to me that almost all of the sponsorship is going to pay for Television, and frankly its such an infomercial now if you've seen one telecast, you've seen another.

I suppose series sponsors could get the same exposure in a very eastern based series, AND have their costs lowered substantially. If you only have to tow between Maine and Minnesota, thats a lot easier.
 

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Having had sponorship in the past I can tell you the sponsor did not in any way butt in to the running of the business (And we were very successful). Any sponsor that would should be given a very hard look. The sponsor is entitled certain things out lined in the agreement/sponsor package/contract, this is open to write just about anyway one pleases.

For a series to give control to a sponsor is not a good idea. The sponsor's interest should not lie there either-but rather in the promotional side-getting their name seen as much as possible by as many as possible.

The argument is good but flawed. Does it happen as layed out? Yes, as we have seen in our sport. Should it? NO! An organising/ sanctioning body should know when to tell a sponsor they are out of line,(give an inch they'll take a mile).

Why would a sponsor think they know how to run an event, something the sponsor is not in the business of doing-the sponsor came to the venue to advertise.

Greg: Some great posts-thanx ;)
 

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Greg deserves an award for getting more postings in reply to his,that use the words "I" and "Me". Amazing how few times the word "We" and "our" have shown up. Additionally without an audit I doubt you can find the phraseology inclusive of "shared interest" or "common long term goal".

Bernie
 

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> For a series to give control to a sponsor is not a good
>idea. The sponsor's interest should not lie there
>either-but rather in the promotional side-getting their name
>seen as much as possible by as many as possible.

Ah but there, you step back into that control grey-area. It's in the sponsors interest to get the promotional, but if the series organizer does not adequitly provide said promotion, well, the sponsor would leave. I'm sure it was part of the common long term goal for Winston to participate in NASCAR for so long, mutually benefitting both companies.

-Jason
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Saywhat

You, and the others who have posted here, are absolutely correct. The amount of control a sponsor gets is very dependent on the situation, money involved, etc, and is part of the negotiation process.

I have been involved in quite a few of these and, at the risk of sounding too brutal, the basic rule of thumb is to get as much control as you possible can. It is no different from any other business deal. The reason is that the control is like money in the bank. It can be traded for other things of value later. In addition, it allows you to control how your brand is presented in the context of the sport.

Sometimes you go for control out of fear that the company you are working with will not do a good job marketing you and you want to handle most of the decisions yourself. It's a comfort thing. Everyone thinks that they know how to market themselves the best.

With that in mind, I would venture to guess that most of the sponsors involved with NASCAR on the series level are not too worried about control unless they are spending an absolute ton of money. NASCAR has proven itself to be a marketing machine and I think most sponsors would be content to just let them handle it.

Greg
 

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nascar sponsors have alot of control. how about this:

tony stewart said alot of nasty things about his good year tires after a race. later nascar fined him and good year said they will not be back as a sponsor for joe gibbs racing in 2004 because they didnt like what tony said about their product.

how about that?

greg
 
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