Last week I mentioned something about the new driver of the John Force car being mentioned on some web sites and I said not to believe everything that you read on the internet (other than this article, of course). Well, this week I have to give props to some folks on the internet who had the story about the AT & T deal going south…and it did. I spoke with three of the teams this week who had been in the running for the deal and they all got the same “Dear Team” letter just two days before Christmas. It seems that the phone giant has decided to put their drag racing plans on hold until the 2005 season. Financial commitments to the upcoming Olympics was mentioned as the reason along with one or two other things. So, one of the most talked about and anticipated new sponsorships in quite some while won’t happen…at least not now.
This can be looked at in two ways. First, it’s nice to be considered for sponsorship by a company of AT & T’s magnitude and the teams who submitted the proposals have to realize that being accepted or rejected is all part of the bidding process. The other way to look at it is that here is a missed opportunity and I know that we all would have liked to see it come to fruition. The unfortunate part is that the news got out in the first place. As one who ran an agency and represented clients for eighteen years I always tried to keep a lid on the deals that were “90% done” or “sure thing” because it seems that they often have a way of not happening. Now let’s hope that these teams get another chance to pitch for the ’05 season, although I know for a fact that it is a crushing blow to one team.
While John Force may not bring out his dragster and Don Schumacher may not add another car to his fleet, there is at least one team that could be on the
By the way, even though this deal didn’t happen, NHRA has a great story to tell and so do all of our professional teams, and with the great marketing and sponsor report that NHRA POWERade drag racing got last year it won’t be long before big things start happening. Having been in the ad business for a long time I can tell you that none of these things happen over night…. It will be interesting now to see how John Force’s team gets structured since he was, to no one’s surprise, in the running for that deal which did require the team to run a Top Fuel car. Now, with that behind him, maybe John can settle in and name the driver for his other car….
One thing that we can all watch for is the upcoming announcement by Jerry Toliver about his new sponsorship program, one that is a “done deal” and one that could also include some major involvement with the NHRA.
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