It’s one-and-done for the Ortho pest-control brand, which will leave after just one season as primary sponsor of Greg Biffle’s No. 16 Ford and not return for 2016, according to a report by Sports Business Daily.
The Ortho brand took over this season as primary sponsor for Biffle’s Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion after previous primary sponsor 3M, which had backed Biffle’s car for nearly a decade, moved to Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 Chevrolet.
Ortho was Biffle’s primary sponsor for half of this year’s 36 Sprint Cup races. It will not be on the car in Sunday’s season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“We evaluate our sponsorship portfolio on an annual basis and have decided not to renew our partnership agreement with Roush Fenway Racing,” Chris Strunk, Director of Marketing, Promotions and Communications for Ortho’s parent company, Scotts Miracle-Gro, said in a statement. “Roush Fenway and Greg Biffle have been terrific partners, and we wish them the best. We are extremely appreciative of their participation and support of the Ortho brand.”
The Sports Business Daily report indicated that Ortho could eventually return, but has elected to “sit out” the 2016 season as a NASCAR team sponsor.
Roush Fenway Racing president Steve Newmark released the following statement: “We have enjoyed a long-standing and greatly productive working relationship with Ortho and the Scotts’ brand. Over the course of the last decade they – at different times – have been able to successfully activate various marketing platforms through our partnership.
“They had great success activating around Greg and the No. 16 team this and I think all of us enjoyed the ‘What’s Buggin Biffle’ promotion. However, their marketing strategy for ’16 will take them in a different direction. We would of course welcome working with them again in the future and look forward to that possibility.”
It’s not been a good year for Roush Fenway Racing in the Sprint Cup Series. Biffle, who turns 46 on Dec. 23, has endured the worst season of his 14-year Cup career with no wins and just three top-five and four top-10 finishes. He enters Sunday’s race in 19th position, having missed the Chase for just the second time in the last eight seasons.
Biffle’s two teammates have had it even worse: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is 25th, while Trevor Bayne, in his first full season in Sprint Cup, is 29th.
Ortho joins several other sponsors that are leaving the sport upon the conclusion of this season including GoDaddy and Aaron’s.
However, several new sponsors will enter the sport in 2016, according to Sports Business Daily, including Microsoft, Avaya and Nature’s Bakery.
Sponsors that have recently extended current agreements include Mars and Axalta.