Baseball, basketball, football, hockey and even soccer to a lesser extent, have figured this out. But not NASCAR.
When it comes to sports related paraphernalia available to the average fan, he/she has a wide variety to choose from. There's caps, T-shirts, posters, coffee mugs, cigarette lighters, windbreakers, and countless other items for sale at your local sporting goods store. They all bring in a tidy little profit to a league, a player, or a team. A few bucks here, a few bucks there, multiply it by thousands of fans, and the next thing you know -- you're talking serious money.
But what's typically the big ticket item? A jersey with the team logo. Fans will pay hundreds of dollars for "genuine" jerseys, though in reality, sometimes they're just cheap knock-offs of the real thing. You see them everywhere. Some fans put so much faith in those jerseys that they'll keep wearing them even after the player, whose name and number are featured on the back, has spurned their team and town, moved on to another team through free agency, come back to be instrumental in defeating that original team, and even gloated over it. It's amazing. Either that, or they couldn't afford to buy any other clothes after purchasing that jersey.
Think of the "Cup" cars and what comes to mind? Decals plastered all over them. You name the product, from spark plugs and oill filters to laundry detergent, and chances are they have a decal on the car. It works both ways. The racing tream wants to squeeze every last dime they can get out of sponsors, while likely getting free or heavily discounted prices on the products, and the sponsors get a little name recognition on TV for those same products. That's all fine and dandy.
But what about the drivers? They have all the same product logos stitched on their racing uniforms. Other than being quickly panned on TV for the national anthem, and only the winner hopping out of his car in victory lane, the exposure for all those stitch-ons is virtually zero during the course of the race, while they're in their cars.
This is where NASCAR is missing a golden marketing opportunity. They don't have jerseys to sell.
Instead of alll that advertising crap on their uniforms that nobody pays the slightest bit of attention to anyway, why not do it like the other major sports? Put their car number on the back, their name across their shoulders, and a team logo, say Roush, Gibbs, Hendricks, Childress, whatever, on the front.
The car itself has been doing all the advertising for the usual 3-4 hour duration of a typical race. The racing uniforms need not be redundant about it.
Name, car number, and "team", with a little imagination thrown in for color schemes -- no sponsors allowed -- is all they need to do with jerseys, and watch them fly off the shelves. Cha-ching.
To the good folks in charge of NASCAR, I would say this -- seeing as how it was my idea -- if you decide to pursue this course of future revenue, I would expect to be reasonably compensated.
I'm a man of modest means. I'm thinking ten percent might be satisfactory. Every time you get a Franklin from those jersey sales, I get a Hamilton. Giving up 10% of a cash cow you never had before would seem to be more than fair.
However, final decisions on such matters must be worked out with my agent, Henry.