By now you’ve likely heard that sandwich sub chain Subway ended their sponsorship of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 driven by Suarez, removing their sponsorship from its last race of 2017.
It was later announced the contract had been breached because Subway requires representatives to maintain a health-conscious image as part of their contract.
A segment earlier in the year with NASCAR broadcaster, NBC featured Daniel Suarez giving out Dunkin Donuts to fans with NBC personality Rutledge Wood. This ended up being an outrage to Subway, or what feels like a way to get out of their contract early.
Subway’s handling of their early departure ended up drumming up a lot of publicity for Dunkin Donuts — the whole thing that made Subway upset in the first place.
However you feel about Subway’s end of sponsorship early, it wasn’t the first, and it won’t be the last time a sponsor ends a sponsorship deal early, or finds a way to get out of it.
Sponsors Step Up
What needs to be done now is either Dunkin Donuts or NBC step up and be the primary sponsor on the No. 19 car for that Subway race. Any ill will that’s directed at Subway by NASCAR fans will breed the opposite reaction to whatever brand or company jumps in as the sponsor for that lost sponsorship race.
While by the letter of the law or the contract, Subway may lose a lot more in the deal in the court of public opinion than had they just ducked out after the season.
NASCAR sponsorship is trending more to business-to-business, but those consumer brands that are still in the sport often boast a ton of brand loyalty. Even though
There are plenty of sponsors not seeing their return on investment, and it’s just business when they exit the sport. But even when completely on the up and up, and just a business decision, a sponsor’s exit from the sport can leave a NASCAR fan sour.
Unfortunately, I’ve got no numbers or data to back this up, but anecdotally, I’m willing to bet more NASCAR fans in 2017 go to their local Lowe’s Home Improvement than their local Home Depot, or now drink from a Monster Energy can over a Red Bull. There’s no ill will from most, but we want to use our hard-earned money to support those who support NASCAR.
On the other side, while it won’t be an all-out boycott, it doesn’t take much in people’s minds to sway them when given a choice. Want a cold cut sandwich? A lot of NASCAR fans now are more likely to go with Jimmy Johns (who sponsors Kevin Harvick), or anyone but Subway. Scratch a NASCAR fan’s back, they’ll scratch yours, or support your product.
Read the Contract
DeLana Harvick, who’s got a little bit of experience and standing when it comes to the business side of NASCAR took to Twitter earlier Tuesday, agreeing Subway was looking for an easy out, but said as a business, you’ve got to know the terms. Always read the contract.
Know your sponsor & the contract, period. Nobody watches your back more than u, not your PR/manager. Steer your own ship on & off the track.
— DeLana Harvick (@DeLanaHarvick) September 5, 2017
Subway has found a way to get out of their contract — maybe one that had seen less of a return on investment after super-healthy and sponsor friendly Carl Edwards retired in the offseason. But regardless, they’re not coming back to the sport anytime soon.
The best thing any NASCAR fan can do in this is spend your money where the NASCAR sponsors are. Then take to social media, the phone, a letter, or any other way to say say thank you to those brands and sponsors that back NASCAR.