On Monday, July 16, 2012, NASCAR, and many other professional sporting organizations, endorsed a letter urging the Speaker of the House to oppose an amendment that would prohibit the Department of Defense from spending appropriated money on the sponsorship of sporting events. The military sponsorship is defended by those who believe that sponsorship leads to new recruits. The belief is backed up by statistics that show that the sponsorship brought in around 46,000 potential new Army recruits in one year.
However, opponents of the sponsorship funding believe that the money should be spent elsewhere or saved. It is not so much a matter of sporting events being sponsored over giving service men and women top amour, but rather a belief that taxpayer money should be directed to other things. It is estimated that almost $100 million went to sponsorship, which would seem to be a significant amount of money. However, in terms of a more than $600 billion budget, that amount of money is not much.
Although the amendment has yet to be officially adopted, it seems that one branch of the armed forces is already getting out of the NASCAR sponsorship business. The United States Army has already notified NASCAR that the branch will no longer be sponsoring teams or races. Though no reason was given, it seems likely that it may be related to the potential sponsorship prohibition. The National Guard is still sponsoring and has not indicated that anything would be changing.
I can see both sides. While I would hate to see NASCAR lose out on all that sponsorship money, especially given that sponsors seem to be in short supply, I understand that it really isn't a necessity. If something had to go and it was between sponsorship money and something very important, then the choice was clear. I hope that there is some middle ground here that will allow the Department of Defense to continue funding sporting events and that would reduce the amount spent. The military and NASCAR have had a lengthy partnership and many fans have grown accustom to seeing the sponsorship and representatives at races. I am sure, however, that both NASCAR and the military would survive without the sponsorship deals.
Kristin Watt has been a NASCAR Winston Cup, now Sprint Cup, fan for as long as she can remember starting way back when she was a little girl and her mother would sit on the couch with her every Sunday during the season to watch the races. Back then, they were fans of Bill Elliott and newcomer Davey Allison.
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