GEICO is set to become the official insurance partner of NASCAR as part of a multiyear agreement that will also see the nation’s second-largest auto insurance company expand its track and business-to-business presences within the sport.
GEICO replaces Nationwide as the sport’s top insurance provider after the Columbus-based company previously held the title for 10 years. Further financial terms were not disclosed.
“They’ve been a strong supporter of the sport, have invested across multiple stakeholders and entities in the sport and have done a really good job,” Daryl Wolfe, executive vice president and chief sales and partnership officer, told Front Office Sports. “We’ve known these guys for a long time, have a sincere appreciation for who they are, what a big brand they are, and certainly, they have an appreciation for our sport.”
Under the terms of the new deal, GEICO now holds exclusive status and promotional rights throughout the United States and U.S. military bases in the insurance category.
“Our affiliation with NASCAR has been successful over the past decade, and expanding our partnership to include rights with the sanctioning body was the next logical step,” said Bill Brower, assistant vice president of marketing for GEICO, in a press release. “Our expanded presence will allow us to further engage the most brand loyal fans in sports and bolster our effective marketing platform.” GEICO declined a request for comment by Front Office Sports for this story.
According to Wolfe, negotiations took place over a period of roughly five months and were initiated by NASCAR following the expiration of their deal with Nationwide. It’s a natural stepping stone for GEICO, who already sponsors a race (The GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway) and a race team (Germain Racing).
Arguably the insurance provider’s most visible presence on race day, however, is the GEICO Restart Zone, an area near the start-and-finish line conveying where the race leader is permitted to accelerate when the race resumes following a caution. GEICO’s sponsorship of the area began in 2017 at 10 tracks and the new deal will expand the Restart Zone to an unspecified number of tracks this season, with the possibility for even more in 2020.
“[It is] candidly something that we would like to continue to build on and they would, as well, in the future,” Wolfe says. “Anytime you build a new brand and build equity into a new brand around some ideas and have the entire sport – the entire industry – kind of rallying around it and amplifying that, that’s what we like. And that’s what our fans and our partners like.”
The agreement also enters GEICO into NASCAR’s Fuel for Business Council, a business-to-business platform that meets four times annually with the intention of facilitating agreements among more than 50 NASCAR partners.
“Our partners are expected — not suggested, but are expected — to do business with other partners in this sport,” Wolfe says. “So we create a platform and a process to make sure that that that is not only easier to do, but it’s actually physically happening.”
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Ultimately, Wolfe says, one of the greatest benefits to NASCAR transcends the immediate financial picture. The symbolic value of a deeply invested brand like GEICO deciding to deepen its ties is a win that helps NASCAR perceptually, which in turn will drive in more business from other similarly positioned companies. It also increases the likelihood that GEICO, and other long-term partners like them, will continue to invest more themselves.
“Those are the types of companies that we think are important because… a fully invested partner like that is also getting more value out of the sport, which is only going to [make them want] to invest more,” Wolfe says. “The reason these companies are invested is because they’re getting value back. You’re getting a return on their investment.
“NASCAR, it’s working for them.”