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DATE News (chronologically)
07/17/09
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GM dumps sponsorships UPDATE #2 Some of NASCAR's biggest stars will have to do more with less, now that General Motors has been chopped in half, with a 'good' GM and a 'bad' GM. GM's bankruptcy court is allowing GM executives to cancel a number of sponsorships Ryan Newman, Jeff Burton, Rusty Wallace, Clint Bowyer, California Speedway, Richmond International Raceway, Daytona International Speedway, Dover International Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte's Lowe's Motor Speedway, and Charlotte's May 600 Festival.

All those contracts, and more, including apparently show-car sponsorships, are likely to be folded into the 'bad' GM.  Earlier GM announced it was dropping Truck and Nationwide sponsorships and would no longer back the Nationwide teams of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Harvick. Mikemulhern.net

07/14/09 In order to emerge from bankruptcy protection, General Motors had the legal right to reject contracts that it had previously signed. GM has now emerged from bankruptcy, but 54 sponsorship agreements it terminated as part of the bankruptcy were filed with the courts yesterday. Some NASCAR related cuts mentioned in the article:
Track Agreements
California Speedway Corp. (Fontana) -– 70 suite passes w/ pit row access, 35 VIP parking passes
Daytona International Speedway –- 65 seats w/ 77 tickets, 11 parking passes
Dover International Speedway –- 50 seats w/65 suite passes, 30 VIP
Lowe's Motor Speedway –- 66 suite tickets, 16 pit passes, 10 parking passes
Richmond International Speedway –- 60 person suite, 30 pit passes, 15 parking passes
Racing Team Sponsorship Agreements
Jeff Burton, personal service agreement (RCR)
Ryan Newman Motorsports
Other Sponsorships Agreements
IMG Worldwide (official car) CNBC

07/14/09 For General Motors, it's lights out in the Big Apple and game over in Lansing.

A federal judge Monday let General Motors Co. shed dozens of sponsorship deals and pricey perks that included VIP suites at international speedways, naming rights for a Lansing baseball stadium and Times Square billboards.

The move frees GM from spending millions on marketing, sponsorship and promotion-related agreements that did not directly relate to the automaker's core operations. In all, GM shed 54 contracts, but it was unclear how much money the automaker -- once the nation's largest advertiser -- will save.

Separately, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber on Monday approved a deal to allow GM to join forces with Parnassus Holdings LLC -- a unit of Platinum Equity LLC -- to purchase Delphi Corp., which has been mired in bankruptcy since October 2005. zzzz

The sponsorship contracts, listed in a court filing Monday, offer a peek at perks enjoyed by GM executives and clients at some of the nation's signature sporting events, such as the Daytona 500. The list included high-profile sponsorship deals with the Oakland Raiders, the University of Southern California, the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament and deals for lesser-known events such as the San Antonio Livestock Expo.

GM had partnered with the Livestock Expo for more than 15 years and the deal was due to be renegotiated this summer, said Pamela Rew, the expo's assistant executive director. The group had been paid more than 80 percent of the contract, which Rew said was not in the millions yet was "substantial."

"The current situation is unfortunate; our hearts go out to the employees and families that are affected by this situation -- we wish them only the best," Rew said.

GM has already ended high-profile sponsorship deals with PGA golfer Tiger Woods, documentary superstar Ken Burns and a host of events such as the Super Bowl and Academy Awards. The deals siphoned away millions in cash for a company that has lost $82 billion in recent years.

"The executory contracts are no longer necessary for the debtors' ongoing business and create unnecessary and burdensome expenses for the debtors' estates," a GM lawyer wrote in a court filing.

Among the contracts that will be terminated on June 22 are the naming rights of Oldsmobile Park. GM agreed to pay the city of Lansing $1.5 million when it signed a 15-year contract in 1995. The stadium is home to the Lansing Lugnuts, a Class A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. A spokesman for Mayor Virg Bernero did not return a call seeking comment Monday.

GM also is ending a contract for the Chevrolet clock in Times Square -- where it has advertised since the 1930s.

Despite the cuts, GM is still one of the biggest corporate advertisers. The automaker spent more than $424 million during the first quarter of 2009, down 19 percent. Its spending is in fourth place among the 10 largest advertisers, according to TNS Media Intelligence. GM trailed Procter & Gamble Co., Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc.

The automaker's marketing approach got an overhaul last week after GM emerged from bankruptcy to focus on four core brands: Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC.

"You'll see that many of those we 'rejected' or chose not to carry forward involve retired brands or soon to expire GM brands or simply reflect the reality that the new, smaller, GM only has four brands to support," GM spokeswoman Kelly Cusinato said. "As for future spending and approach to sponsorships, it is too soon to predict." Detroit News

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