Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Army National Guard to end sponsorship of Dale Earnhardt Jr.

   The Army National Guard issued a news release Wednesday in which it stated it was discontinuing its sponsorship of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and driver Graham Rahal in the IndyCar Series.

   "Significantly constrained resources and the likelihood of further reductions in the future call for more innovative and cost-effective ways of doing business," said Maj. Gen. Judd H. Lyons, acting director of the Army National Guard, said in a statement.

   The Guard said it spent $32 million on its NASCAR sponsorship and $12 million on its IndyCar sponsorship for 2014. Future programs will rely on much smaller budgets, the Guard said. 

   "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 Lt. Col. Christian Johnson, who heads Army Guard marketing.

   "Our NASCAR sponsorship was principally a marketing program, intended primarily to build awareness of the National Guard as a career option" said Johnson. "The NASCAR sponsorship allowed the National Guard to leverage a 77 million fan base and the sport's most popular driver."

   In a statement, Hendrick Motorsports said in had a contract in place with the Guard for the 2015, which it planned to honor.

 “Our team has a contract in place to continue the National Guard program at its current level in 2015. We have not been approached by the Guard about potential changes and plan to honor our current agreement," the statement said.

   To read the entire Army National Guard release, go here.

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