BUSINESS

GoDaddy to drop sponsorship of NASCAR's Danica Patrick after this year

GoDaddy to drop sponsorship of Danica Patrick's NASCAR race car after this season

Web-hosting provider GoDaddy Inc. said Wednesday it plans to drop its long-running sponsorship of the NASCAR race car driven by Danica Patrick after this year.

The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company said it wants to "diversify its marketing investment across more channels and regions."

The move came less than a month after GoDaddy's initial public offering of stock, which Patrick helped celebrate by appearing with GoDaddy Chief Executive Blake Irving at the New York Stock Exchange.

Patrick, the only female driver in NASCAR's premier Sprint Cup Series, also was a mainstay in GoDaddy's often racy television commercials over the years.

But the company, with $1.39 billion in revenue last year, has been trying to shift its image as it works to broaden its sales beyond website-hosting services.

GoDaddy said it was negotiating to retain Patrick, 33, as a spokeswoman under a personal-services deal.

It costs roughly $20 million a year for a NASCAR team to field a car in the Sprint Cup Series, and GoDaddy shouldered most of that cost as the primary sponsor. Patrick drives the No. 10 Chevrolet for the Stewart-Haas Racing team.

"I would be thrilled if Danica stayed on as GoDaddy's spokeswoman and I want to personally thank Stewart-Haas Racing and NASCAR for their help in building the GoDaddy brand domestically," Irving said in a statement.

Patrick said in GoDaddy's announcement that "it's pretty cool, from a marketing perspective, that we helped GoDaddy build such strong brand awareness here in the U.S." but that she would "miss having their bright green color on my race car next year."

GoDaddy went public at $20 a share. The stock stood at $24.86 a share, down 29 cents, in early trading Wednesday.

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