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AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
If you’re a New Orleans Saints fan, you’ll soon be watching the NFL team play at the newly named Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The automaker has just signed a 10-year agreement that gives Mercedes-Benz official naming rights as well as other sponsorship benefits, such as being named the official and exclusive vehicle of the Saints.
The timing couldn’t be better, as the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in Louisiana will be hosting the 2012 Men’s Final Four, the BCS Championship Game, and one of the biggest sporting events of 2013, the Super Bowl. It’s Mercedes-Benz’s first naming rights deal in the U.S. and for the New Orleans stadium as well, which just went through a $336 million renovation that took six years to complete.
“The joining of the Mercedes-Benz brand with the world-class Saints organization and the Superdome, an iconic destination which has undergone an incredible transformation over the past six years, is a significant moment for us, the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana,” said Ernst Lieb, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA. “Our commitment over the next decade is to the Saints fans, team, and this famous community as it flourishes beyond anyone’s expectations.”
There’s no word how much this 10-year agreement cost Mercedes-Benz, but it does come with a host of branding and signage opportunities for the luxury automaker. As part of the deal, all of the Saints print and online publications will feature Mercedes-Benz content and advertising. As an extra bonus, Mercedes-Benz will have access to Saints coaches and players for special events and promotions, which is sure to pull in a big crowd.
Chevrolet has inked a deal with Fox to become the official sponsor of X Factor, the latest talent show from within the machinations of Simon Cowell’s war machine.
Chevrolet vehicles will appear throughout the season as product placement, as well as the usual barrage of ads. X Factor differs from American Idol in that there will be a lot of traveling involved, and “a lot of telephoning of judges and discussions of the groups they represent,” says Keith Hindle, CEO of producing company FremantleMedia Enterprises. “That gives us the ability to amp that up a bit and feature in-car technology. That was one of the key hooks.”
Nobody has divulged how much Chevrolet spent on marketing, but if it’s anything like Pepsi’s X Factor sponsorship, it would be around $60 million.
[Source: Ad Age]
One of the leading teams in the American Le Mans Series has published a tactful but strongly worded essay taking the ALMS to task for failing to secure a proper live television deal for the 2011 season, when the race series has previously been able to secure such a contract.
For this season, ALMS shifted to a largely digital broadcast format, with races being shown live on ESPN3.com, and then aired later on ABC. Due to a scheduling conflict, ABC was unable to air the 12 Hours of Sebring broadcast on the West Coast, a significant market for motorsports.
On its official website, Risi Competizione posted a lengthy, but eloquent essay, taking the ALMS to task for what it argues is a retrograde movement in securing coverage for its race series. Risi also notes that the high cost of sports car racing, and the need for significant sponsorship exposure makes the broadcast deal look unprofessional.
While ALMS boss Scott Atherton posted a defense of the new media deal 4 days before Risi’s own blog, Risi seems to have been feeling unfulfilled by the arrangement, and their public criticism of the ALMS management is surprising.
We asked a spokesman from Chevrolet to comment on whether Corvette Racing shares the same sentiments. In an email, he stated “No, I don’t think we share that exact same opinion. Though yes, we’re sensitive to the concerns of fans and we of course want the best broadcast coverage possible for fans.”
We highly suggest checking out both Risi’s post (linked below) and the ALMS official statement. Both of these primary documents must be read to gain a solid grounding in the issues, but we would love to hear what you think. As motorsports fans ourselves, it’s safe to say we are fairly invested in this story.
[Source: Risi Competizione]
Earlier this month a debate raged on whether the American armed forces should sponsor NASCAR teams, one that had the potential to get ugly. But the House voted 241-148 to ditch the proposal, allowing the Army, Air Force, and National Guard to keep on racin’.
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced the proposal, as an amendment to the House’s 2011 spending bill, by questioning why $7 million was being spent “for a sticker on a NASCAR,” in the words of her chief of staff. She argued that the Army’s NASCAR team did nothing for military readiness, but Army spokesperson Col. Derik Crotts claims that the Army picked up 46,000 potential recruits through its sponsorship efforts in 2010.
The Army has maintained a presence in NASCAR since 2000, through direction from Congress itself. NASCAR, of course, is one of the most popular spectator sports in America, and if the Army wants to attract more people, then—stereotypes aside—there aren’t many better places than stock car racing.
[Sources: Wall Street Journal]
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) has been campaigning for the removal of the U.S. Army’s sponsorship of a NASCAR entrant in the Sprint Cup Series, a project that costs the Pentagon about $7 million dollars per year.
While McCollum has fielded irate calls from those who are angry about her proposal, the threat, delivered via fax, was the first of its kind.
For years, the Army has sponsored a NASCAR team as a means of getting the message out about the armed forces, and the career prospects it has to offer. At first glance, it seems like a perfect fit – with NASCAR’s supporters leaning heavily Republican, and supportive of the kind of values that often draws people to the armed forces.
Bill Harper, McCollum’s chief of staff, noted the irony of NASCAR fans, who he assumes to be Republican, and their complaints, when Republican supporters are calling for budget cuts to preserve America’s financial integrity. “We’ve heard innumerable times that the Republicans were elected to send a message from the people that we should stop spending money,” said Harper. “And yet the people who sent that message want us to spend $7 million for a sticker on a NASCAR.”
[Source: Talking Points Memo]