Allegiant Air has signed a sponsorship deal with NASCAR, in another effort to get its brand in front of racing buffs.
The Las Vegas-based discount carrier signed a multi-year agreement with the car-racing organization. Allegiant is NASCAR’s first “official passenger airline partner” and the “presenting sponsor” of NASCAR Goes West on Nascar.com, according to a news release.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
The sponsorship was unveiled today at a news conference at the Cosmopolitan, just before a weekend of NASCAR events, including the Kobalt 400 and the Boyd Gaming 300, at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Allegiant flies mostly from small, underserved cities to warm-weather vacation spots, offering low-priced base fares and a bevy of add-on fees.
“We are pleased to partner with a brand that will provide our fans with affordable and convenient travel options to the majority of our race markets,” NASCAR chief marketing officer Steve Phelps said in the news release.
It’s not the first time Allegiant has targeted racing fans, although past campaigns have been criticized.
The airline sponsors GMS Racing, a team controlled by Allegiant chairman and CEO Maurice "Maury" Gallagher. His 26-year-old son, Spencer, drives for the team and wears a racing suit emblazoned with Allegiant’s logo.
Allegiant board members approved spending $2.5 million to sponsor the CEO’s team last year. That followed $938,000 that Allegiant spent in 2013 to sponsor his team; $125,000 in 2012; and $250,000 in 2011, securities filings show.
CtW Investment Group, which works with union-sponsored pension funds, asked Allegiant investors last year to vote out half of the airline’s six-member board. CtW went after directors who had approved spending millions of dollars on Gallagher’s side ventures, including GMS Racing, saying the board members had shown a “collective failure to guard against” the “poor use” of company money.
“Even if NASCAR sponsorship makes business sense, it is difficult to view the sponsorship of this team and the CEO’s son as anything but a clear case of favoritism,” CtW’s executive director, Dieter Waizenegger, wrote in a letter to investors last spring.
The effort flopped, though, as investors re-elected Allegiant’s entire board of directors.
CtW faced an uphill battle from the get-go: Gallagher is Allegiant’s largest shareholder, with more than 20 percent of its stock.