WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today released the following statement after the National Guard announced a decision to curtail its spending on sports-related marketing and recruitment with organizations such as NASCAR and IndyCar:
“I’m a NASCAR fan, and I love the National Guard—but spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on a recruitment program that signed up zero recruits, and that has been abandoned by other service branches as ineffective, just makes no sense.”
In May, McCaskill led a hearing on reports of waste and abuse in spending on sports-related marketing and sponsorships with organizations such as NASCAR and IndyCar.
Each year the National Guard spends more than $56 million on sports marketing with NASCAR and IndyCar, which amounts to 37 percent of its marketing and advertising budget. However in 2012, not a single National Guard soldier was recruited from the NASCAR sponsorship program. In 2013, the program generated fewer than 8,000 leads—far from the roughly 1,000,000 leads the National Guard needs to meet its annual recruiting goal of 50,000 soldiers.
The target demographic for the National Guard is primarily young adults between the ages of 18 and 24. However only 10 percent of NASCAR viewers are between 18 and 24. The average age of an IndyCar fan is between 35 and 54 years old.
The Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard, all of which used to sponsor NASCAR, have all decided to end these programs. The Regular Army ended its sponsorship with NASCAR in 2012 after concluding that the program had the highest cost per lead in the Army’s portfolio of sponsorships. The Marine Corps made the same decision in 2006, when it determined that the cost per impression of sponsoring a NASCAR team was almost impossible to measure. The Navy ended its own sponsorship of NASCAR in 2008 because the program was too expensive compared to the marketing benefit it received. And the Coast Guard ended its relationship with NASCAR in 2006 due to the cost of the sponsorship and only generating 350 leads for their $9.6 million investment.
Visit mccaskill.senate.gov/accountability to read more about McCaskill’s fight for stronger accountability in Washington.