29 April 2015
NASCAR: GoDaddy to end sponsorship of Danica Patrick
Internet domain giant GoDaddy is to end its sponsorship of Danica Patrick's #10 car after the end of the current season, the company has confirmed.
GoDaddy.com is to end a long-standing sponsorship of Danica Patrick in motorsports dating back to 2007, the internet domain name services company confirmed on Wednesday.
"NASCAR has been a tremendous domestic platform to help us achieve an 81 percent aided brand awareness domestically, but at this stage, we need a range of marketing assets that reach a more globally-diverse set of customers," GoDaddy chief marketing officer Phil Bienert said in a news release.
He explained that it was strictly a business decision as data had demonstrated to the company that "we are past brand marketing in the US" and were looking toward building a focus on small business and international markets.
"We love Danica and all she does to empower and inspire people, especially women, which is why we are working to keep her in the GoDaddy family," Bienert said. "We have the utmost respect for Stewart-Haas Racing, and they've been phenomenal partners."
The company said that it would continue to have a personal services agreement with the driver, but that GoDaddy's distinctive colours would no longer be on the livery of the Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet once the current deal expires at the end of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
"I'm excited to work with GoDaddy on a personal level moving forward but will miss having their bright green colour on my race car next year," said Patrick. "At the same time, this is a new opportunity for a brand to pair with me and Stewart-Haas Racing and achieve the kind of growth we experienced with GoDaddy."
A full-season primary sponsorship for a car in NASCAR is estimated to be worth between $10 million and $30 million per year, and as one of the most famous figures in motor racing it's likely that Patrick is firmly at the more expensive end of that scale.
Patrick and her team will now need to find alternative sources of income to replace GoDaddy in 2016, but Patrick's own deal with SHR also expires at the end of the current season. The 33-year-old driver has two top-10 finishes this season give her six for her career, a new record in the sport for a female driver. She's also the only woman to win an IndyCar race, and had led laps in the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500, and was on pole the 2013 Daytona 500
Bienert agreed that Patrick's "record-setting season makes it tough to leave this motorsports sponsorship, without a doubt," but at the same time Patrick continues to struggle to find her feet in stock car racing and is currently 16th in the points in a team line-up that includes race winners Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch.
The internet domain giant has been with Patrick in various capacities since 2007 when Patrick was competing in the open-wheel IndyCar Series. GoDaddy became her primary sponsor in 2010 and supported her move to NASCAR full time in 2012, starting with a season in the second-tier Nationwide Series before stepping up to Sprint Cup the following year.
GoDaddy has by no means been Patrick's only sponsor over that period. The #10 has seen Aspen Dental and TaxACT as main sponsors on her car for a handful of races, and the team's stable of backers includes Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Mobil 1, Haas Automation, Chevrolet and Outback Steakhouse.
"Nationally, maybe one of those is willing to step up to a larger level," Patrick told the Associated Press, adding that today's news had been "little bit scary and unfamiliar for me" given the security of her long-term deal with GoDaddy in the past. "I've been very lucky as a driver to not have to worry about who is going to sponsor me.
"Maybe there's something out there that will be new and fresh, maybe reach a new demographic," she said. "I've always encouraged my partners to use my platform to build their brand, and this is maybe an opportunity for something new."
Stewart-Haas Racing was also busy putting a positive spin on the day's news, which hadn't been expected.
"Our organisation has been fortunate to have committed corporate partners, a focused and dedicated employee base, and drivers capable of translating these tools to on-track success," said SHR executive vice president Brett Frood.
"It is our intent to continue raising our performance bar with all four Stewart-Haas Racing teams and delivering results to our constituents now and in the future," he continued.
"With Danica, we see a driver with unparalleled resolve and tenacity. She is an individual who transcends the sport and we look forward to fostering new partnerships for her and the #10 team."
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