If you’ve taken a look at a NASCAR race in recent years then you’ve probably noticed all those decals and logos covering each and every car. These ads consume every inch of the vehicles from the hood to the sides and even the spaces around the car’s lights and wheels.
One of the reasons why NASCAR vehicles are adorned with so many logos is because they are amazingly expensive to make. The engine alone in one of these cars is worth around $100,000. When you consider all the other components that make up such a vehicle then you’ll see that you’d have to pay close to $200,000 just to build a full-size car eligible for a Sprint Cup series event.
The cost to get a driver signed onto a team can be staggering as well. For instance, Jimmie Johnson‘s salary is close to $7 million each year. This total doesn’t include the endorsements that he gets or race winnings he’s accumulated in recent years. Regardless, the cost of getting a top-quality driver to drive for a competitive team can be very high.
Car sponsorship and advertising deals are made to help compensate for the extremely high cost of operating a team in NASCAR. Companies not only seize the opportunity to get publicity on these cars but they’ll also get themselves advertised on apparel, toys and other things that promote drivers. Just think about how much exposure the Lowe’s hardware and home improvement store chain has gotten over the years thanks to Jimmie Johnson’s success.
The amount it costs to sponsor a NASCAR vehicle varies based on a many factors. This article will go into detail about how much is costs to advertise with NASCAR and break down a variety of ways in which a company can do so.
Primary Sponsorship – $400,000 Per Race
It will cost at least $400,000 for a company to be the primary sponsor of a driver and his car. Primary sponsorship means that the sponsor will get its name and logo plastered all around the vehicle. The car will have a color that matches up with the company’s colors as well as a big logo covering the front hood.
Take a look at Brad Keselowski‘s car, for instance. Miller Lite is the main sponsor of his #2 Ford Fusion. There’s a huge Miller Lite logo on the front and the car is blue just like a Miller Lite can. Keselowski even wears a uniform that has the Miller Lite logo all over its front body.
Sometimes a company can come out and pay for one race to get a one-time sponsorship. Jeff Gordon did this once in 2013 with AARP to promote the Drive to End Hunger charity.
Rear Wheel Spots – $40,000 Per Race
It costs much less to add a logo to the rear wheel areas on a car. It’s close to $40,000 per race to add a logo to the spot in front of or behind the rear wheel. Jeff Gordon has a large Pepsi logo right next to the rear wheel spot no matter who the primary sponsor of his car is. Meanwhile, Kyle Larson sports a big Clorox logo next to his rear wheel.
C-Pillar – $15,000 Per Race
It costs around $15,000 per race or close to $500,000 for a full season to advertise on the C-pillar of a NASCAR, a spot right next to the rear window. For example, Ryan Newman‘s main sponsor Quicken Loans also pays for a logo on the C-pillar of his Chevrolet Impala #39 car.
This part of the vehicle is expensive to sponsor because it is so visible from the ground up. People who watch a NASCAR race on TV will easily notice the C-pillar as the car moves at almost any angle.
B-Pillar – $200,000 Per Season
The B-pillar is the smallest spot on a vehicle for company advertisements. This spot is the area on the shoulder of the car and can include logos plastered on both sides of the vehicle. These logos are typically a few inches long and narrow in length, often including only the company name. Still, companies are willing to pay $200,000 per season for the rights to get their logos onto this little area. Advertisements on the B-pillars can cost around $5,000 per race but most teams prefer not to sell these spots by the race.
This area is an ideal place for teams to advertise because lots of different companies will compete with each other to have their logos on the car. If you look at Juan Pablo Montoya‘s vehicle then you’ll see plenty of logos on the B-pillar of his Target-sponsored #42 car. These include logos for McDonalds, Bell Helicopter and Champion.
Of course, these companies can all opt to get their names on the uniform the driver wears as well. All deals are negotiable in NASCAR.
Keeping it Family Friendly
Interestingly, NASCAR drivers typically take in companies that don’t have adults-only products for sale. While any company can spend the same amount of money on sponsorship rights, it is harder for companies that sell liquor products to get their names on cars because they can’t always get the logos used in video games, advertisements and even on other things that are geared towards younger audiences. There have been some recent exceptions though. Brad Keselowski’s Miller Lite car is one of them and Jack Daniels sponsored Casey Mears‘ #7 car in 2009 is another. JD was Mears’ primary sponsor for the entire 38-race season at a cost of $18 million.
Still, it’s much easier for teams to accept sponsorship money from family friendly companies like Target or M&M’s. Tobacco companies, for instance can no longer advertise on cars whatsoever. The days of Winston, Marlboro and Camel sponsoring vehicles are long gone.
Beyond the Car
For the large amount of money they pay, some of these sponsors will get more than just their logos on a car or uniform. Part of what a sponsor can get for their money includes crew chiefs being required to drop their sponsors’ names a few times during interviews and even the driver using product placements when celebrating. This can be noticed when Jeff Gordon wins a race. He always drinks Pepsi at the winners’ circle even if he wins the Coca-Cola 600 or anything else that Coke sponsors. Fortunately, nothing this unusual happened when Mark Martin was sponsored by Viagra a few years back.