Despite their agreement to leave the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at the end of this season, this week’s SportsBusiness Journal reports that AT&T has not given up hope of remaining in the sport.
A lawsuit to determine whether the telecommunications company deserved to be grandfathered into the sport ended with a settlement in September that allowed AT&T to put its logo on Jeff Burton's Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, but only through the end of the 2008 season. Sources have told the Journal that Childress is still lobbying NASCAR to keep AT&T in the Sprint Cup Series beyond 2008; the first year of a three-year sponsorship contract that reportedly contains no exit provisions or refunds if AT&T is not allowed to remain. AT&T's annual sponsorship is believed to be between 16 and 18 million dollars per year.
NASCAR, meanwhile, says there is no option for AT&T to remain. Ramsey Poston, NASCAR's Managing Director of Communications, said, ""Nothing has changed. This is a closed issue. Agreements were made, and we expect all sides to live up to them. The fans certainly don't want to hear any more of this."
AT&T's official stance continues to be that it will abide by the agreement if nothing changes.