August 20, 2009

Lowe’s Says ‘No’

Last year, the Concord, NC street that takes hundreds of thousands of racing fans to Lowe’s Motor speedway was re-named Bruton C. Smith Boulevard in honor of the Speedway Motorsports Inc. owner. Next year, the track itself will undergo a name change as well. On Thursday, Lowe’s announced that it will not renew its naming rights for the Concord speedway.

Lowe’s brokered exclusive naming rights with SMI in 1999, making Lowe’s Motor speedway the first major naming-rights deal of a NASCAR track. The partnership has been viewed by many as a success, as the fairly young Lowe’s brand has enjoyed exposure to millions of NASCAR fans for nearly a decade. But, but as priorities and budgets shift to survive in the recession, so too will the marketing resources of the company.

According to a NASCAR press release, SMI owner Bruton Smith expects the track to work to find a new title sponsor. If a new sponsor can’t be found, the track’s name will revert to Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Of course, this is not the only corporate sponsorship to dissolve within the past year. Professional sports across the board are having more trouble holding on to their lucrative deals with companies, specifically those in the financial and automobile industry. With this decline, yet another reflection of a downturned economy, might we see the pendulum swing back to a world of stadiums and fields without corporate monikers?

If so, which sports venues would you like to see returned to their original names?

Contributed by: Maghan Cook

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