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Room for more sponsors at Hall of Fame

NASCAR Hall of Fame Opens in Charlotte
When customers enter the $200 million NASCAR Hall of Fame for the first time this week, they'll find the sparkling showplace surprisingly free of sponsor clutter.

That's not by design. The three-story, 150,000-square-foot facility, which opens Tuesday in downtown Charlotte, has finalized four sponsorships with Lowe's, Mars (M&M's), Food Lion and the NASCAR Performance Group.

NASCAR will be showcasing many of its aftermarket partners, including 3M, Goodyear, Mobil 1, O'Reilly Auto Parts and others. Those companies will be on display when the Hall of Fame opens, and their deals range from $200,000 to $700,000 annually and go from three to five years in length.

NASCAR receives a 10 percent cut on sponsorship sales and between 7.5 percent and 10 percent on other revenue from admissions, retail sales and tours.

Five other sponsorship deals are in the works and are expected to close soon, although the identity of the new sponsors has not been disclosed by the Hall and those companies are not yet on display.

The nine deals in total represent $4 million in sponsorship revenue, which will be used to pay back $20 million in loans from its banking partners in Charlotte, Bank of America and Wells Fargo (formerly Wachovia), over the next 10 years. Interest will accrue over time. Overall construction costs are covered by an arrangement with the city that includes loans from the banks, hotel/motel taxes and private funds.

“It's never been our objective to have X amount sold by the time we opened or a certain date,” said Winston Kelley, the Hall of Fame's executive director. “We've never said that. This is definitely more of a marathon than a sprint.”

The facility's inventory, which includes Heritage Speedway, High Octane Theater, Glory Road, the Great Hall and the iRacing simulator, sure to be one of the most visited attractions within the facility, has been on the market for more than two years.

The recession has hampered sales efforts, said Zak Brown, CEO of Just Marketing International, the Indianapolis-based sales agent for the Hall.




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