National Guard sponsorship resulted in zero new recruits (2nd Update)

UPDATE #2 The following report of last week's hearing and McCaskill's position is posted on the senator's website:

Each year the National Guard spends more than $56 million on sports marketing with NASCAR and IndyCar,, which amounts to 37 percent of its marketing and advertising budget. However in 2012, not a single National Guard soldier was recruited from the NASCAR sponsorship program. In 2013, the program generated fewer than 8,000 leads-far from the roughly 1,000,000 leads the National Guard needs to meet its annual recruiting goal of 50,000 soldiers.

"I really like NASCAR. And I love the National Guard even more than I like NASCAR. This hearing is not about demonizing NASCAR or the National Guard, this hearing is simply about return on investment of federal tax dollars-[it's about] whether or not federal money is being used wisely, for the intended purpose, and getting the result desired as a result of that investment." said McCaskill, a former Missouri State Auditor and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial & Contracting Oversight. "As I stated in February when examining the Guard's Recruiting Assistance Program, I understand that aggressive recruiting is key to maintaining the strength of our military, but Congress has a responsibility to ensure that every taxpayer dollar spent produces measurable results. In this environment of dwindling recruiting budgets, I want to understand why the Army National Guard has maintained sports sponsorships that fail to reach target recruiting demographics, and also provide less value per dollar than other forms of marketing."

05/08/14

with his National Guard sponsorship in jeopardy because of the aging NASCAR fan base, look for Earnhardt to start sitting on more poles and winning more races.

"How can you justify the fact that nobody is getting recruited from the NASCAR?" said subcommittee chairman Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). "The facts speak for themselves. The data is very clear. You are not getting recruits off NASCAR. This is data that you gave us. … If you were forced to spend less, (can you say) that this isn't something you would immediately look at in terms of deciding this is not the best use of the money?".

McCaskill said the NASCAR team sponsorship generated fewer than 8,000 leads in 2013, “a far cry" from the 1 million leads needed annually to enlist 50,000 people. She theorized during the hearing that the sponsorships aren’t reaching the key 18-24 demographic because she said only 10 percent of NASCAR viewers are between 18-24 and the average age of an IndyCar fan is 35-54.

05/08/14 The National Guard spent $26.5 million to sponsor NASCAR racing in 2012 to bolster its marketing and recruitment but failed to sign up a single new soldier to its ranks, according to data provided to USA Today. Even though the Guard spent $88 million as a NASCAR sponsor from 2011 to 2013, it is unclear how many new recruits, if any, signed up because of it, according to documents. The Guard on Wednesday would not confirm the figures on prospects and recruits developed through its NASCAR sponsorship.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who will hold a hearing on the recruitment program Thursday, assailed the Guard for "wasting a bunch of money on a very expensive sports sponsorship." The Guard received 24,800 recruiting prospects from the program in 2012, documents show. In those cases, potential recruits indicated the NASCAR affiliation prompted them to seek more information about joining. Of that group, only 20 met the Guard's qualifications for entry into the service, and not one of them joined!!!!!!!

In 2013, the number of prospects associated with NASCAR dropped to 7,500, according to briefing materials for the Senate subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight led by McCaskill. The National Guard needs 1 million leads to meet its annual recruiting goal of 50,000 soldiers. The NASCAR initiative, along with the $38 million spent on an IndyCar racing sponsorship, over the same period, will be the target of the hearing led by McCaskill. Rick Breitenfeldt, a National Guard spokesman, said 90% of Army National Guard soldiers who enlisted or re-enlisted from 2007 to 2013 indicated that they had been exposed to information about the service through NASCAR-related recruiting and retention materials.

Sponsoring NASCAR and driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. puts the Guard's name in front of 77 million fans, he said. USA Today

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