Kyle Bush’s ‘sugar daddy’ leaves, and his future in NASCAR is precarious

Anton Vincent, president of M&M’s parent company, Mars Wrigley, spoke about the company’s evolution into becoming “consumer-obsessed” and the need to focus on “consumer interests and other passions”.

“There’s kind of a shift in our sports marketing strategy,” Vincent told Forbes.com earlier this year. “Our client base is very distributed.”

are you tracking? Well, let me translate: Kyle Busch’s stellar NASCAR career is in wait mode.

“Never expect to be in this predicament,” Bush said in a telephone conversation on Tuesday.

After 15 years as the primary sponsor of Busch’s Cup Series, M&M’s is gone after this year. A long-term relationship is very uncommon in NASCAR, but the final breakup does happen.

There is no doubt that Kyle Busch will be in a quality car next year and beyond. But it might not be Joe Gibbs’s familiar No. 18 car — Bosch says he’d rather stay where he’s won two championships and truckloads of trophies, and Gibbs clearly wants to keep it.

In any of the other familiar sports leagues, that would essentially seal the deal. Cale and Joe would continue to drive together.

But auto racing in the big league is an entirely different medium. Hopefully, this high-level development, which reminds everyone of how much senior teams rely on corporate partnerships, will help everyone decide that there has to be a better way.

“In other sports, a team doesn’t lose a sponsor and then give up its best talent,” Bosch said. “Sure, the business model can be of some help. I know there are some team owners who have entered our sport recently, and they are really fighting for it, trying to help this model be better.

“It’s obviously difficult to find a unicorn style for an alternative sponsor – someone who spends $15-25 million in our sport in just 12 months.”

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Kyle Busch is presented before the NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond on July 24, 2022.

The split decision is coming for NASCAR and the teams

The NASCAR business model updated her wardrobe beginning in 2001, when she launched her first network television deal. Prior to that, Tracks worked on their own individual deals with a variety of network and cable entities. Over the past 21 years, the overall deal has involved two networks splitting the season – now Fox and NBC.

The 10-year deal, running from 2015 to 2024, is valued at $8.2 billion. Where does all this go?

Not sure where or how everything is spent, but the front end division has been the same all the time: 10% goes to NASCAR, 25% goes to the 36 rental racing teams (through undisclosed race wallets), and 65% goes to to single highways (NASCAR, by the way, has 11 tracks hosting 18 races in its current 36-race schedule).

There has been talk recently of changing that split with the next TV deal, which will begin with the 2025 season.

“How far you go, I don’t know,” Bush said this week.

Since the last TV deal was signed, a few new owners have gone into garages, some of whom have been into other sports and have brought varying degrees of insight and ideas. Also in the past several years, the Race Team Alliance—originally formed in 2014—has grown in team muscle. However, some things will remain out of the team’s control.

It’s a bit strange, looking from the outside. With each new NASCAR network contract, the dollar numbers are growing, not just a little. Media coverage expanded and took on some new forms. However, in the more than two decades since the network’s first deal was negotiated and then executed, the company’s biggest team sponsor has pulled out.

Ditching that offer doesn’t make sense, but insiders point to the growing segments of the sports-entertainment industry and the wide range of choices now facing CEOs and chief marketing officers.

“It was unfortunate…they boomed in the ’90s,” Bush said. If you weren’t in NASCAR, it wasn’t a big enough brand, it wasn’t cool enough. There were sponsors of our sport who were making money by being here. final result. . . He was making them money in NASCAR.

“The CEO or CEO wanted to make a change and didn’t want to do it anymore, and they’re gone. Goals of the world, dollar generals, UPS, Lowe’s, Home Depot, you name it. They were here, doing a good job of making money, and now they are.” They are not here.”

And now, Mars and its M&M brand are also headed toward the exit ramp. Left scramble is top-tier racing team and driver, Kyle Busch, winner of 60 Career Cup races, two championships, and at 37 still top of his game.

Is there a fix for NASCAR?

It’s screaming for structural overhaul, but it’s not that easy. Other sports do it with fixed salaries – some tighter than others. Also, for example, along with the Miami Dolphins’ share of NFL media revenue, as well as its share of miscellaneous merchandise sales and sponsorships, it sells tens of thousands of tickets and high-end suite packages at home games.

A big league racing team could run the season with only the money they get from TV cuts, but it would be a minuscule operation compared to the others. The extra care dough is used, and most importantly, to attract and pay the best talent – drivers, crew and engineers – and to buy the best equipment available to help make their cars faster.

The term “cubic dollars” is an old term money equals horse.

They can increase the teams’ share of TV money. Maybe you pay enough money for a team to run an entire season with enough talent in the cockpit and the race store to run fast. But runners not only want speed, they want faster, so they still beat the bush for extra funding to facilitate that desire.

The only way they can combat that, and perhaps bring some balance and rationality into all of that, is to put a cap on spending.

Here’s another kettle of fish for another day.

This article originally appeared in The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Kyle Busch finds NASCAR’s future on shaky ground after the M&M papers