WASHINGTON, May 16, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A respected independent research firm has confirmed the value that professional sports sponsorships provide the National Guard in recruiting and retaining high-quality soldiers.
Alan Newman Research of Richmond, Va., found that 90 percent of Army National Guard soldiers who enlisted or re-enlisted since 2007 were exposed to the Guard through recruiting or retention materials featuring NASCAR cars and/or drivers.
Of those who enlisted or re-enlisted during that time period, 85 percent agree that professional sports are beneficial to attracting and retaining good soldiers.
The survey also found that racing fans are an especially receptive group for the Army National Guard. NASCAR enthusiasts aged 18 to 34 — the Guard's target recruiting audience — are twice as likely to consider a military career than nonfans.
The Army National Guard turned to professional sports sponsorships in 2007 when traditional, more expensive recruiting efforts were failing to attract enough quality applicants. The force has since seen a surge in recruiting with some units having to turn away potential enlistees.
The new research also shows the general public overwhelmingly supports such efforts. Eighty-three percent believe that the military should be able to promote career opportunities where each component believes a receptive audience can be found.
The study was a joint effort by the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS) and the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS). Respondents included thousands of Americans, including more than 1,300 Guard soldiers and airmen.
"Our recruiting figures strongly suggested that our relationships with NASCAR and other professional sports played a key role in what has been a historic surge in Army National Guard recruiting," said retired Maj. Gen. Gus L. Hargett Jr., the NGAUS president. "Now we have further proof, and it comes from our soldiers themselves."
"For years the National Guard has used professional sports sponsorships to reach qualified potential recruits," said Al Garver, executive director of EANGUS. "While we have known for years that it is effective, we now have even more empirical evidence of just how effective such sports sponsorships are for recruiting enlisted members of the National Guard."
A white paper on this new research study is available on the NGAUS website at www.ngaus.org.
About NGAUS: The association includes nearly 45,000 current or former Guard officers. It was created in 1878 to provide unified National Guard representation in Washington. In their first productive meeting after Reconstruction, militia officers from the North and South formed the association with the goal of obtaining better equipment and training by petitioning Congress for more resources. Today, 135 years later, NGAUS has the same mission.
About EANGUS: The association was formed in 1972 with the goal of increasing the voice of enlisted persons in the National Guard. Today, EANGUS continues working to advance the interests of the over 414,000 enlisted National Guard personnel by engaging Capitol Hill on behalf of the volunteer patriots across this nation.
SOURCE National Guard Association of the U.S.