Cost of Sponsoring a Race Team

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Every race fan knows that their favorite driver couldn’t compete with sponsorships — and lots of them.  All those patches on the uniform, all the logos on the car itself, each represents a financial arrangement between a company or brand and the team or driver.

If you own your own business maybe you’ve dreamed of someday having enough money to sponsor a race team. That may turn out to be a pipe dream, unless your company has a huge marketing budget.  It costs millions of dollars to sponsor a team for a single season, esp. if it one of the top teams in one of the major racing series.


ndycar Racing Chicagoland Speedway IllinoisTake a look at what some companies are spending to sponsor NASCAR in 2015.  While most sponsorship contracts are shrouded in non-disclosure agreements, inevitably figures get leaked.  Like the $10 million reportedly being paid by Eli Lilly to sponsor Ryan Reed in the Xfinity Series. Only $5 million is going to the Roush Fenway Racing team. The other half will be spent on promotion and activation costs. That figure is just for the primary sponsorship, Reed will have secondary and individual sponsorship deals to supplement that amount.

The Xfinity series is a smaller circuit. The estimated price tag for NASCAR Sprint Cup sponsorships is in the $18-20 million range. That figure is higher due to the increased visibility that comes with Sprint Cup races through broadcast deals and the fact that there are more races in the premiere circuit. Teams that aren’t in contention for the championship or drivers that aren’t expected to win races have less expensive sponsorships.

In international terms, there is Formula 1 racing. Even the smallest logos in obscure parts of the race car can fetch over £1 million for the season, if the team is a high ranking one.  Prime spots on championship contender cars can go for as much as £15 million. Red Bull Racing won four consecutive championships (2010-2013) and the Red Bull company reported spent over $1.2 billion supporting the team over the last decade. That averages to $120 million each year.

Sponsorship Pays

The brand exposure that companies get by sponsoring championship teams is undeniable.  Take the Red Bull investment mentioned above.  In those four championship years, Red Bull had their name in front of over 425 million viewers around the world.  That kind of global exposure would have cost them over £209 million annually.

Smaller investments in smaller circuits can still yield good results. If they didn’t, no one would sponsor less popular races like NHRA, SCCA, and TUDOR United SportsCar Championship .  There is solid money to be made is auto racing, by the sponsors, at least.

So, if you still dream of sponsoring a race team, why not look a little closer to home.  There are numerous circuits for young drivers, specialty cars, etc.  See what drivers and teams in your area are seeking sponsors and invest in them.  Maybe one of them will turn out to be the next Sebatian Vettel or Jimmie Johnson.

Or just follow the advice on money management blogs like and maybe you’ll be able to afford that multi-million dollar sponsorship someday.

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