Hendrick Motorsportsannounced moments ago that Budweiser will not in fact be the primary sponsor ofDale Earnhardt Jr. While it's a really bad thing for Budweiser--any other driver they get won't be as big as Dale Jr,--I think in the end, it's better for Dale Jr.
It's just another signal of a fresh start. New team, new logo and I'd advise him and Hendrick to give him a new number as well. I think the fact that he won't be driving around in a Bud car probably will help increase Dale Jr.'s already robust merchandise sales business by at least 15 percent next year.
Why? Because if you are a Dale fan and you had an Earnhardt piece of Bud gear, you'd still be up to date if Bud resigned. Now, to prove your new fandom, you have to get new gear.
A new number also makes a fan change--witness the Kobe Bryant sales this year when he changed from No. 8 to No. 24.
Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com