CBS Off Track With NASCAR Comments

     Reporter Lesley Stahls October 9 piece described the depths of the free market that NASCAR was willing to delve into: They'll even rename a race for a sponsor. Warner brothers got the Batman Begins 400 this summer. Stahl overlooked the fact that sporting events, like college football bowl games, are often named after advertisers.

     Stahl also criticized NASCARs aggressive marketing, telling CEO Brian France, part of the sports founding family You are unabashed in the hucksterism category. France had nothing to apologize for. According to a September 5 Fortune magazine story, NASCAR had total corporate sponsorship revenue last year of $1.5 billion, compared with $445 million for the NFL and $340 million for Major League Baseball. Fortune added that 106 of Fortune 500 companies are involved as sponsors more than any other sport.

     That wasnt enough to keep Stahl from criticizing NASCARs sponsors. When France told her, I mean, we have limits, about which sponsors are accepted, Stahl replied: You do? Couldve fooled me. The exchange continued and Stahl complained that You do Viagra, you do liquor. Stahl then got to the heart of her critique: You promote this sport as family values. You are sponsored by things that are just not wholesome. I mean, for years it was cigarettes. I mean, come on. Now it's liquor.
Stahl never mentioned that all of the products she criticized were legal. She was unhappy because they were just not wholesome.

     Fortunately, NASCARs all-time winningest driver Richard Petty was on hand to explain the free market beauty of the sport and its founding family. They took nothing, and kept working. And over 55 or 60 years this is what you see, okay? That's capitalism.