Objectives: This study sought to quantify television advertising exposure achieved by tobacco companies through sponsorship of motor sports events and to evaluate the likely effect of the Master Settlement Agreement on this advertising.
Methods: Data from Sponsors Report, which quantifies the exposure that sponsors of selected televised sporting events receive during broadcasts of those events, were compiled for all motor sports events covered by the service for the period 1997 through 1999.
Results: From 1997 through 1999, tobacco companies achieved 169 hours of television advertising exposure and $410.5 million of advertising value for their products by sponsoring motor sports events. If tobacco companies comply with the Master Settlement Agreement and maintain their advertising at 1999 levels, they will still be able to achieve more than 25 hours of television exposure and an equivalent television advertising value of $99.1 million per year.
Conclusions: Despite a federal ban on tobacco advertising on television, tobacco companies achieve the equivalent of more than $150 million in television advertising per year through their sponsorship of motor sports events. The Master Settlement Agreement likely will do little to address this problem.