Analysis: The rolling sponsorship trend in V8 Supercars

It’s always been seen as a very NASCAR sponsorship model, but the trend of rolling title sponsorship is quickly moving into V8 Supercars. Andrew van Leeuwen looks at why its working so well for some teams.

Analysis: The rolling sponsorship trend in V8 Supercars
Todd Kelly, Nissan Motorsports
Todd Kelly, Nissan Motorsport
Michael Caruso, Nissan Motorsports
James Moffat, Nissan Motorsports
Updated livery for the DJR Team Penske Ford of Scott Pye
Scott Pye's Winton livery
New livery for Scott Pye
Todd Kelly, Nissan Motorsport
Todd Kelly, Nissan Motorsport
Michael Caruso, Nissan Motorsport
James Moffat, Nissan Motorsports
James Moffat, Nissan Motorsport

The concept of rolling sponsorship isn’t new in Australian touring car sport, but what’s changed is the scale on which it is happening in 2015.

Chopping and changing sponsorship was always something for the privateer, one-car teams at the back of the grid, scraping together cash from local vendors just to get on the grid.

But that’s just not the case anymore. Now, rolling sponsorship is something that big, factory-backed teams do. And not through desperation, but because it can yield more sponsorship dollars across a season than having one title sponsor.

Just look at Nissan Motorsport; since the test day at Eastern Creek back in February, Todd Kelly’s car has had five different major backers. James Moffat is on his second title sponsor, while Michael Caruso’s car is on its second livery.

DJR Team Penske has done the same, alternating between its gorgeous Shell livery and one-offs such as MTU in Perth and Daikan at Winton.

More sponsors, more money

Few would deny that locking down a season-long sponsor on a full budget is the best and easiest way to go about the business of title sponsorship. But according to Nissan Motorsport’s general manager Nick Ryan, rolling sponsorship has better potential to build a season-long budget in what is a challenging market.

“Fundamentally, it’s about making sure that we can get the best package together for the entire season,” he explained to Motorsport.com.

“At this point in time, the model that we’re doing puts us in a better financial position – which is a key requirement in motorsport.

“For us undertaking this model, the specific reason we did it was about ensuring that we’re in a more stable position as opposed to just taking a fire sale deal for the whole season. It’s challenging market at the moment, and we have to be reflective of that.

“Others may just take the lower deal for a whole season, but we’re looking at different avenues.”

Opening new doors

The system doesn’t just benefit the teams. The option to pay full title sponsorship price, but not for an entire season, has opened the market for a range of new businesses.

“The value [in sponsorship] is certainly there, but the investment is one that not a lot of businesses can achieve right now,” added Ryan. “So you have to be savvy about how you go about it. Penske is doing the same thing.

“It’s also a good opportunity for your team because you can attract some great brands, and give them proper exposure as a naming rights sponsor – but it’s just for a segment on the season.

“It’s helping to open sponsorship up to a host of new brands. It’s giving them scope, because a lot of businesses would love to have the opportunity to be a primary sponsor, but can’t afford to do it for a whole season.

“So in the long run it helps them, and it helps us too.”

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