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02/06/2014

Texas Motor Speedway, Duck Dynasty & NASCAR aren't making new fans

Phil_robertson_duck_dynasty_3In an effort to lure more fans to NASCAR, Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage keeps signing up companies that already has them in the bag. 

One year ago, TMS signed an agreement with the National Rifle Association as the title sponsor of the NRA 500 in April of 2013. Now, the TMS spring NASCAR race will be called the "Duck Commander 500." Seriously. Only Eddie. 

It is only a matter of time before a track holds the Fox News 350.

The track announced a three-year agreement with Duck Commander, the brand of best-selling duck calls and family company that is featured on the popular A&E show "Duck Dynasty." The deal is for the spring race only at TMS.

Say this for Eddie, the man is never one to shy away from any controversy. He seeks it (thank God). 

Duck Dynasty recently came under criticism after one of its stars, Phil Robertson, was suspended by the A&E after negative comments he made towards gays appeared in an issue of GQ.

The problem for Eddie, and much of NASCAR, is any alleged controversy is not generating anything more than a small headline for one day. Last year when TMS made its agreeement with the NRA, there was a tiny bump in publicity that any race would sign an agreement with an organization that was under intense criticism after the school shootings in Newton, Connecticut. But the attention did not last for too long.

All these moves do is further insulate NASCAR fan among their own. A sport that was born in the southeast and originated in moonshine runners continues to retreat further away from the mainstream and hang out amongst itself. In fairness to NASCAR, that is what many sports do outside of football. Cable TV ensures long term survival of niche sports.

Eddie-Gossage-TexasThis is not to think if Eddie and TMS created Monistat 700 it would entice a flock of female fans to watch a race simply because of its affiliation with a product it may use.

The massive expansion this sport enjoyed in the '90s is long gone, and what is left are the hard core fans who already love racing, guns, and Duck Dynasty.

What would have really tested Eddie's resolve, and a NASCAR's fan true devotion, is if he named the race the ACLU 500. That would have been controversial.
 
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Comments

P. Glyn

Duck Commander and NASCAR...How Outrageous...Who could imagine such a thing....zzzzzz...zzzz...

John R

Um, you do realize Mr. Gossage doesn't just name a race after an organization, he sells the rights to them, right? The reason they pay for those rights is to advertise. Most entities wish to spend their advertising dollars wisely and so focus on marketing to folks who they believe are inclined to purchase their goods or services. A look at some of the sponsors of Sprint Cup races this year: soft drinks, hand tool manufacturers, automobile manufacturers, auto insurance companies, auto parts companies, snack foods, banks and even a tourist agency (Pure Michigan--hmm, that's about as southeast focused a place as you can get.) Duck Commander makes perfect sense in this regard, no matter whether they are controversial or not.

Groups like the ACLU, or better yet Code Pink, NORML or the Muslim Brotherhood would only be seeking controversy and would not be advertising partners with the Speedway. So why would they spend large amounts of money to little effect?

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