The results are in, and fans are not going to be happy campers.
NASCAR and its teams conducted a Nielsen investigation that returned the news that moving the numbers towards the front or the back of the cars would increase sponsorship value. Which, this makes sense because obviously if you have more room to have sponsors plaster logos all over the car, then you of course can charge more for them.
This makes sense and honestly anything that helps NASCAR teams is a win in my book. There will be fans who hate this change due to nostalgia and unwillingness to change what these cars have always known. I can understand this, because it’s hard to imagine stock cars with a more European or sports car look.
I personally would love to see these numbers stay the same, but with the sponsorship woes that have been going on in the sport I think that any benefit teams can get is worth it. The Nielsen report did not say just how much more of a value this move would add, but it’s pretty irrelevant. Anything that teams can do to attract more money to their teams, they are going to do.
In the grand scheme of history, this move is irrelevant. This sport has been through so many changes from the cars, drivers, tracks, and championship format that if you have stuck around through all of that, you’re going to stick it out through this. At the end of the day, the numbers will still be visible and a major feature to the overall car identity.
I look back on comments Dale Earnhardt Jr. made a year ago when this move was first rumored. He explained that his stance was all about the identity of the car and the driver. We have sponsorships that change week by week so often that nowadays the car number is really the only thing we have to recognize cars with each week.
I would take that argument and play devil’s advocate with it. We have team switching sponsors so much because a lot of sponsors don’t see the value in sponsoring a car for the majority if not all the races in a season. There are champions like Brad Keselowski who do not even have a main sponsor but instead live off of team sponsors and have a new look each week.
What if this move changes that? What if this move entices sponsors to once again hitch their wagon to a driver? That’s a lofty idea, because I think the NASCAR sponsorship woes stretch beyond just the logos on the car. I think there is the potential for this to be a small piece of that puzzle though.
At the end of the day, I just want good racing with good looking race cars. A lot of people will look at some of the horrid schemes to come out of last year’s all-star race and say this is going to look awful. If these teams are given a whole offseason to work with sponsors and design brand new schemes, I believe they have the potential to make some awesome designs. Amateur creators are already doing this online and making them look great.
I’d implore everyone to keep an open mind and not let this bog down your love for the sport. Prepare yourself because it’s happening, but really think about how moving that number slightly to the left or right is really going to affect your experience. In the end, this sport looks bonkers compared to what it was 20-years ago and it’s going to look even wilder 20 years from now. Sports as a whole is something that always evolves and while it seems like NASCAR does it at a rapid pace, this is something that happens in every professional association.