Home Depot is not going to renew its sponsorship of Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) when its contract expires at the end of the NASCAR season, according to a report by SportsBusiness Journal.
The DIY chain has been the primary sponsor of JGR going back to 1999, but has cut back its commitment to Mr. Gibbs' team and NASCAR in recent years. Instead of promoting its primary business, Home Depot has featured its Husky tool brand as the sponsor this season.
Home Depot has also allowed Dollar General to serve as the primary sponsor this season for 27 of 38 races run by Matt Kenseth of the Gibbs team. Expectations are that Dollar General will play an even more prominent sponsorship role once the Home Depot deal ends. Neither Home Depot nor JGR offered any comments on the report.
A Harris Poll released earlier this year, via USA Today, found that auto racing (all types, including NASCAR) was the fourth most popular sport among adults in the U.S. Seven percent of respondents said auto racing was their favorite sport compared to the National Football League (35 percent), Major League Baseball (14 percent), NCAA Football (11 percent), the National Basketball Association (6 percent), the National Hockey League (5 percent) and NCAA Basketball (3 percent).
Attempts in recent years by NASCAR to attract a younger and more diverse fan base have yet to achieve the results expected. The company's predominantly white male audience has not reacted positively to some of the changes made in recent years, according to Bleacher Report, while NASCAR fans were hurt by the recession and its after-effects.
Are sports sponsorships becoming more or less important to retailer marketing efforts today than in the past?