Performance Pays Early and Late in the NASCAR Season
We know victories provide auto racing teams with the biggest prize money checks at the end of the day. But the financial rewards from consistency can have an even greater impact on the teams’ bottom lines with sponsorship revenue required to pay the bills.
In the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS), the Daytona 500 presents the opportunity for underdogs to become one of the “big dogs.” With the cars running so close together in a pack, and the potential for a crash to take out several top contenders at once, the Daytona 500 offers the chance for an unexpected driver to grab the spotlight and “steal” a win. Austin Dillon’s trip to victory lane in the Daytona 500 was the fourth-highest value delivered by any MENCS car in a single race during the 2018 season.
While a big win at Daytona can kick-start a season, consistently high performance from mid-February through mid-November is what drives the most value for teams and their sponsors. According to a Nielsen Sport24 analysis of the 2018 MENCS season, the four drivers who made it to the Championship 4 round and competed for the title at Homestead-Miami Speedway demonstrated the highest amount of earned Quality Index (QI) Media Value for sponsor brands.
While Kevin Harvick didn’t win the championship, he led the most laps in 2018 and finished the season tied for the most wins by taking home eight checkered flags. This exposure is why his car also delivered the highest QI Media Value for its sponsors. Kyle Busch tied Harvick’s eight wins, and was second for total laps led. His car provided the second-highest QI Media Value in the 2018 season. Martin Truex, Jr. had the third-highest number of laps, had four wins and ranked third for QI Media Value. And while Joey Logano won the MENCS Championship, it was only his second win of the season, pushing him to fourth overall strongest QI Media Value.
Total QI Media Value demonstrated by team-owned sponsorship assets (excludes NASCAR, tracks and broadcaster controlled assets) during the MENCS playoffs was up 6% year-over-year from 2017 to 2018, accumulating more than $91.5 million. Playoff drivers earned significantly more time on television than non-playoff drivers in 2018, taking 84% of the QI Media Value, compared with 71% going to playoff drivers in 2017.
While not in the Championship 4, a couple of playoff drivers made big strides based on performance compared with the previous season. Chase Elliott earned his first three wins of his MENCS career in 2018, and his television time leaped 1 hour 46 minutes, or 16%, over 2017. And after a 190-race drought in his career, veteran Clint Bowyer went to victory lane twice in the 2018 season, boosting his exposure during race broadcasts more than 6 hours, which is more than double the exposure his brand sponsors earned in 2017.
While it takes an entire season to pay big dividends for sponsors, a win at the Daytona 500 is historically the biggest victory for a driver, not only for the prize money and commemorative ring, but for QI Media Value. Last year, the Daytona 500 provided $81.6 million in cumulative brand exposure, or 9% of the total for the entire 2018 MENCS season.
The 2019 Daytona 500 will be held on Sunday, February 17.