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DATE News (chronologically)
10/25/10
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Wal-Mart rejects NASCAR, Gordon  UPDATE #3 Beginning in 2011, the primary sponsor of Gordon's #24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy for a majority of races will be a major anti-hunger campaign. The campaign, which may be the first multi-race cause-related sponsorship of its kind in NASCAR, will be coordinated through the AARP Foundation and eventually involve other companies, sources said. The AARP Foundation is the charitable organization of the AARP and dedicated to serving older Americans in need. While the anti-hunger campaign will serve as primary sponsor for a majority of races, DuPont and PepsiCo are expected to return as primary sponsors for the remainder of the races in 2011 as well, sources said. Gordon's sponsorship and details of the anti-hunger campaign will be unveiled at a news conference on Wednesday at Hendrick Motorsports, sources said. A Hendrick Motorsports spokesperson confirmed an announcement is being planned for Wednesday but declined further comment. Charlotte Observer

08/30/10 Walmart has issued a statement that they will not be sponsoring Jeff Gordon’s Hendrick Motorsports team.  NASCAR has been the subject of several published reports that the world’s largest retailer was in negotiations with Hendrick Motorsports to sponsor the No. 24 car for next season.

Walmart has rejected NASCAR and Jeff Gordon
The possible addition of Walmart to the line-up of car sponsors would have been big news for NASCAR, which has had few sponsorship dollars added to the Cup series in the last two years.  The possibility even existed that Walmart may have been able to enter into a sponsorship agreement (with any team) that might have been for less money than the cost of the going rate that was seen just a few years ago.

As an example of the sponsorship reductions, Budweiser has announced that its sponsorship will go to the No. 29 Richard Childress team for next year but only for 20 races. This is a reduction from the full season sponsorship that Budweiser has had with various teams for many years. The reduction in sponsorship is in line with the direction the new owner of Budweiser, InBev, (which in July 13, 2008 combined with Anheuser-Busch under the name Anheuser-Busch InBev) has taken.

08/24/10 Gordon remains one of the sport's most popular drivers and is a likely future hall of famer. DuPont has been his only primary sponsor since he became a full-time driver in 1992, but the most recent deal between DuPont and Hendrick Motorsports ends this year. While DuPont might be back on the #24, it is expected to be in a reduced role. Pepsi and National Guard also have associate sponsorships on Gordon's car this year. Gordon, 39, has said that he plans to drive for four or five more years and that he's over the back injury that at one time was considered a threat to his career. If Wal-Mart completes an agreement for the #24 Chevy, it remains to be seen whether the retailer will keep its marks on the car or sell off races to vendors. SportsBusiness Journal/Sporting News

08/23/10 Wal-Mart’s potential move into NASCAR has led the retail giant deep into negotiations with Hendrick Motorsports over sponsorship of Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 Chevrolet next season.

There continue to be several moving parts to the Wal-Mart discussions with Hendrick and NASCAR, which began in the spring and have progressed through the summer. Wal-Mart’s play could have tentacles in both sponsorship and licensing at the team and league level, according to industry sources.

The retailer has been hesitant to spend money on sports sponsorships in the past, so Wal-Mart’s entrance to NASCAR would provide a huge boost to a sport that has been ravaged by the recession and attracted little new sponsorship money in the last two seasons.

“It’s very significant,” said Mark Dyer, senior vice president at IMG and formerly chief of the licensing division at NASCAR until 2007. “We tried for years to get Wal-Mart’s attention when I was at NASCAR and we made some inroads. If they truly decide to take a position in the sport, that’s a big deal to get a company that should have been in that space all along.”

While Wal-Mart ponders a new place in NASCAR, other consumer packaged goods sponsors are clearly energized and they’re not waiting for contracts to be signed before mobilizing.

Sources say that six of NASCAR’s official consumer packaged goods partners met earlier this month to discuss a retail strategy for Wal-Mart. Those sponsors were Coca-Cola, Kraft, Mars, MillerCoors, Procter & Gamble and Unilever. Scenedaily.com

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