When Michael Jordan signed Bubba Wallace to his new NASCAR racing team, he made it clear that it was about one thing: winning.
“We don’t sign checks for losers,” Jordan said.
Of course, it's not only about winning. Wallace, the sport's lone Black driver in the Cup Series, is an ideal racing partner for Jordan, who's making his foray into the NASCAR world.
“I think he presents a great opportunity. Not just as an African-American, but in terms of talent,” Jordan said when asked why he chose Wallace. “He’s someone who aspires to be good. All you have to do is support him.”
While the big-time racing results will hopefully come, the new 23XI Racing company is already seeing bif results off of the track.
From GQ Magazine:
It’s been an unusually hectic few months for Paul Sparrow, NASCAR’s managing director of consumer products. Ever since Michael Jordan entered the sport as the co-owner of 23XI Racing, Sparrow’s phone has been ringing off the hook with people clamoring for one thing: merch.
“I’ve taken numerous calls every day asking me, ‘When’s the product coming? When’s the product coming?” says Sparrow.
In December, 23XI finally gave the fans what they wanted, announcing on Twitter that it had released its first batch of shirts and hoodies. Less than five minutes later, inventory had sold out.
“The future for them is just stunningly bright,” says Sparrow, who notes that the successful merch drop was a clear indication of 23XI’s potential not only as a racing team but as a larger brand.
Of course, merchandise sales are far from the priority for this Michael Jordan-Bubba Wallace NASCAR venture.
However, it's clear that they could be opening up a new fan base for the sport, which would be a pretty cool accomplishment on its own.