August 20th, 2010
I do not have anything against the sport of auto racing. I just will never understand why we (the military, and now the Veteran’s Administration) pump so much money into NASCAR. Someone have real statistics on the return on investment?
The newest NASCAR sponsor: the GI Bill
By Rick Maze – Staff writer
In an effort to bring more attention to veterans education benefits, the GI Bill will sponsor a car in a Sept. 11 NASCAR race in Richmond, Va., and is also one of the sponsors of the race itself.
The Air National Guard is the chief sponsor of that Sprint Cup Series 400 race, which will be called the Air Guard 400.
The idea, according to Veterans Affairs Department officials, is to get the GI Bill plastered on a racecar and frequently mentioned by broadcasters to spread the word about the availability of the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
With the Air Guard’s, and now the VA’s contribution, the American taxpayer should get free admission to the track. I wonder how big the sport would be without the injection of government funds?
Sponsoring the race and a car in the race is part of an outreach program aimed at getting more people to use the year-old GI Bill benefits program.
The combined cost of sponsoring a car and the race will be about $420,000, a significant part of a $1 million advertising campaign that also includes buying ads in college newspapers and in online publications to try to reach eligible service members and veterans, VA officials said.
Having a racecar painted with the GI Bill as its sole sponsor, having the pit crew dressed to match the car and doing some pre-race promotions will cost about $200,000, VA officials said. Serving as an official race sponsor will cost another $250,000. Sponsorship will result in frequent mentions of the GI Bill and its purpose during the nighttime race on the oval track, officials said.
NASCAR is a good way to reach service members and veterans, VA officials said, because marketing surveys show that one-third of NASCAR fans are veterans or personally know a veteran. The Defense Department also advertises at NASCAR events because of marketing surveys that show race fans have a greater interest in military service than people who don’t watch NASCAR events.
An added benefit of being a race sponsor is that NASCAR events are broadcast on military radio and television networks, VA officials said.
“We wanted to do more than just reach veterans and influencers that are thinking about school … we wanted to also reach those folks who could be going to school but may not be fully aware of the benefit,” VA spokesman Nathan Naylor said.
Thank goodness the Navy learned it’s lesson when a couple of years ago they put the brakes on NASCAR.
Seriously, if there is an eligible veteran who watches this NASCAR race and only then realizes, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t know I could use the GI-Bill!”; then, hopefully, they can transfer the benefit to someone who may be able to put it to good use.
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