Earlier this week, the U.S. Army announced that it would not renew its NASCAR sponsorship of Stewart-Haas Racing after a 10-year association with stock car racing as a controversy was renewed about Military Sports Sponsorships. The Army budgeted $8.4 million in spending for this year’s 12-race season. Now, the military is facing hundreds of billions of dollars in budget cuts during a time of record deficits.
Today, the Durham Herald-Sun – based in North Carolina – ran an editorial calling for cuts to the Department of Defense’s taxpayer subsidized sponsorship of NASCAR racing saying “…they just do not represent a wise use of tax resources.”
The Army claims that about a third of recruits come from motorsports marketing and recruiting booths at the racetracks, but that assertion is under attack as dubious, without data to support it. Nevertheless, the U.S. Army has spent nearly $20 million in the past two years on its NASCAR sponsorship as part of its recruitment budget. The larger business issue here is just how effective are expensive racing sponsorships for any organization. AutoInformed, for the moment, will ignore the fund raising practices or sponsorships of the paid for politicians who should be required to wear NASCAR style uniforms when conducting public business with the logos of the special interest money feeding them prominently displayed.
The move comes as a bipartisan measure stopping $80 million in annual sports spending by the U.S. military in Congress emerged from committee after it was defeated last year. Representatives Betty McCollum (D) of Minnesota and Tea Party endorser Jack Kingston (R) of Georgia promoted an amendment that would prohibit military sponsorship of sports. Well, at least the Dems and Repubs can agree on something…
McCollum, who serves on the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, has repeatedly lead legislative efforts to end taxpayer funded sports sponsorships for motorsports, professional bass fishing, and ultimate fighting events. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon of California (R) wants the funding to continue. California, of course, is one of the largest recipients of defense spending.
The proposed 2013 federal budget has $45 billion less for the Department of Defense than 2012 . This is on top of the $487 billion in automatic cuts included in the Budget Control Act, which kicks the deficit problem down the road until after the 2012 presidential election with no assurance that it will ever be implemented. McKeon is squealing about the budget like a pig at a suddenly empty trough.
“I applaud the Army’s decision to terminate its funding of NASCAR. The Army now joins the Navy and Marine Corps in terminating its NASCAR partnership, said Congresswoman McCollum.”
McKeon was silent on the issue this week.