Inhaling and Accelerating: Tobacco Motor Sports Sponsorship In Televised Automobile Races, 2000-2002

Margaret Morrison
Daniel M. Haygood
Dean M. Krugman

This paper investigates auto racing sponsorships by cigarette manufacturers from 2000-2002 and builds on earlier work which found that by using event sponsorships tobacco companies enjoyed significant television exposure for popular cigarette brands. We examine cigarette sponsorship of televised motor events in an attempt to quantify this exposure in terms of time and monetary value. We document the first declines in total exposure time achieved by cigarette companies through these broadcasts, but concurrently identify increases in audiences for the races. Results indicate that cigarette manufacturers have used auto racing sponsorships to successfully circumvent both the ban on televised cigarette advertising and the intent of the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) not to target youth. However, the departure of auto racing’s largest sponsor and the potential elimination of all cigarette sponsors from the sport suggests that a significantly reduced cigarette presence in mainstream media and a potential reduction in cigarette advertising exposure to youth will occur in the near future.