Jun 2, 2010
Tobacco sponsorships are going “gentle into that good night” in the world of NASCAR due to new rules and regulations by the Food and Drug Administration. Specifically, the FDA has passed new regulations which will prevent cigarette and smokeless tobacco sponsorships in any sporting event.
The rule goes into effect June 22 of this year.
Although the move doesn’t have a huge effect on NASCAR sponsorships generally, the last big tobacco sponsor, R.J. Reynolds, ended its sponsorship run in 2003, it will have an effect on those cars (and trucks) individually sponsored by tobacco companies,
Two teams backed by smokeless tobacco will be affected: the Longhorn-sponsored truck of Kevin Harvick Inc. and the Nationwide Series car of Baker-Curb Racing backed by Red Man. Harvick says his truck will run the rest of the season (and has found second-half sponsorship).
The future is less certain for Baker-Curb’s No. 27 Ford, which is eighth in points (with Greg Biffle starting 10 of its 12 races) and has two more races with Red Man. Team co-owner Gary Baker says the company considered staying with the team by using the same paint scheme without its logos but worried it would bring government scrutiny.
Baker says the team is in a mad scramble for funding. “It’s a Herculean task,” he says. “I’ve been in the business side of racing since the 1970s, and it’s never been this brutal. That’s not an indictment of NASCAR; it’s still the best return on investment when properly done.” (via USA Today)
Ouch. Its incredible how much the tobacco industry landscape has changed even in the last 30 years. From being heavily involved in sponsorship and promoted everywhere, to now being a cancer (literally) and being banned from being involved in sports sponsorships.
An all too subtle reminder that today’s source of revenue may not be there tomorrow.