Rahal and Earnhardt lose National Guard sponsorship (Update)

UPDATE

The loss of National Guard is a $12M loss for the Rahal team

This quote is attributed to Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with David Letterman and Mike Lanigan:
"We were informed this afternoon that the National Guard will end all sponsorship of motorsports, including both IndyCar and NASCAR at the conclusion of the 2014 seasons. This is obviously very disappointing news to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing given the significant incremental brand exposure we have worked to produce for the National Guard in our first season together, including various off-track marketing and advertising programs focused on supporting the mission set forth. We will continue to work hard to uphold the honor and integrity of the National Guard throughout the remainder of the season. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing would like to thank the National Guard for allowing us the privilege of representing some of the finest men and women, those ‘citizen soldiers’ that protect our freedoms and safety each and every day… as we Focus Forward!"

08/06/14 After undergoing an intensive internal review, the Army National Guard is set to make changes to its sports sponsorship approach to recruitment marketing. These substantial changes include an end to its sponsorship of NASCAR driver #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Graham Rahal in the Indy Racing League (IRL).

The loss of National Guard was a $32M loss for Earnhardt and the Hendrick team

"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. The Army Guard spent $32 million on its NASCAR sponsorship and $12 million on its IndyCar sponsorship for 2014.

Future programs will rely on much smaller budgets. And while sports sponsorships have played an important role in helping the Guard build strong brand awareness, existing Army National Guard sponsorship contracts with NASCAR and IRL are set to expire at the end of the current season, he said. "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." Motorsports sponsorships are not the only programs to be impacted by decreasing budgets. Since 2012, the Army Guard has reduced sports sponsorships from six-including professional fishing and motorcycle racing-to just the NASCAR and IndyCar sponsorships. In fiscal year 2015, the Army Guard's marketing budget is expected to be about half of what it was just three years ago in fiscal year 2012. Army National Guard

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