Ok, so now Walmart is getting into the mix of looking into sponsorships in NASCAR. But they are not only looking at sponsorships, but rather a possibly direct license agreement with NASCAR that would make it NASCAR’s exclusive retailer in the mass merchandise space. A direct license would give Walmart the ability to select its suppliers and set prices for certain categories, such as hats and T-shirts.
Walmart is believed to be exploring sponsorship opportunities with Hendrick Motorsports as well. Hendrick’s drivers #48-Jimmie Johnson, #24-Jeff Gordon, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #5-Mark Martin account for close to 75% of all licensed sales in the sport, industry analysts say, making it a logical team for Walmart to sponsor.
Walmart is thought to be considering a sponsorship arrangement with a team or multiple teams, with Hendrick Motorsports in the middle of those discussions. It’s unclear, though, if the mass retailer will settle on one car for a chunk of the season, sponsor multiple cars for a few races each, or perhaps put together several driver deals into a marketing platform, a la the Gillette Young Guns or the Coca-Cola family of drivers. One scenario, according to sources, has Walmart sponsoring Gordon’s #24 Chevy for half of the season or more, as primary sponsor DuPont looks to scale back its spending. DuPont’s current primary sponsorship on the #24 car ends this season, and while the longtime sponsor is expected to remain in some form, it’s uncertain whether DuPont will remain the primary.
In other news as one sponsor is looking to come, another will be leaving. Tylenol will not renew its official partnership with NASCAR. The sport’s official pain reliever since the start of the 2007 season, Tylenol’s current deal with NASCAR runs through the 2010 season.
With the official partnership, track and driver deals, Tylenol’s total spend was in the $5 million to $6 million range annually. The brand has not activated its Team Tylenol campaign, which started in 2005 to coincide with the launch of its rapid-release gels.