In today's professional sports, it's not difficult to see large corporations promoted on somebody's jersey, shoes, ball cap or race car - the most recent additions being web sites.
But what about the name Michael Holigan?
Holigan's name recently appeared on Rick Hendrick's No. 25 Chevrolet, driven by Jerry Nadeau. Holigan is not a corporation, parts store, department store or dot com. He's the only human sponsor in any major sport today.
Holigan is a home builder. After several years of designing homes, he hosted a video to demonstrate how to build a home that would survive natural disasters and have low utility bills year-round. Such great interest was shown it evolved into a television series in Dallas. He now has a regular series, "Michael Holigan's Your New House," which can be seen on The Discovery Channel.
"I was at a race in Texas," said Holigan, explaining how the sponsorship developed. "And, since I use Dupont products in home building, I thought it would make a good partnership to be involved with them (Hendrick Motorsports) in racing."
Dupont is the main sponsor of the No. 24 Chevrolet driven by Winston Cup Champion Jeff Gordon. Hendrick's other car, Winston Cup Champion Terry Labonte's No. 5, is sponsored by Kellogg's.
Holigan also saw the opportunity to show his video and promote MichaelHoligan.com to potential buyers. At NASCAR races, the number of hospitality tents has grown tremendously. Parking lots have begun to look like refuge centers set up for natural disaster sites.
"I saw the potential for 400 business transactions by becoming involved in racing. We show people a video on the bus while on the way to the track, another at the track, and again on the return trip. At Dayton, out of 300 people I showed my product to, 298 now use it."
Holigan wasn't much of a race fan before getting involved with Hendrick and NASCAR. He used to race motocross in high school and college, but since listening to that race in Dallas on a scanner, he has become more appreciative of the sport.
"With the use of scanners, you can hear everything going on between the driver and crews. It's really amazing. Some drivers only give 90 percent during a race then the last 10 laps or so give 100 percent. But Jerry, he gives 110 percent the entire race. He's very intense and focused."
Holigan and Nadeau each have signed a three-year contract with Hendrick Motorsports. Nadeau wasn't originally on the list of drivers Hendrick was interested in. Holigan asked Hendrick to consider him and when the decision was made, it was Nadeau who got it.
Nadeau finished 42nd at the Cracker Barrel 500 on Sunday and 20th at the CarsDirect.com 400 in Las Vegas the week before.
"All Jerry needs is a bit more experience and he'll be right up there. He's got an impressive race history and he's talented. He used to race karts on ice in Germany."
Like several other drivers, Nadeau started racing open-wheel cars. He began at the age of 4 in go-karts and won 10 karting championships from 1984-90. He entered the Skip Barber Eastern Series in 1991 and won eight races and was named Rookie of the Year.
Nadeau raced a limited Busch Grand National schedule in 1995. In 1996 he competed in the open-wheel Formula Opel European Union Series, placing sixth. He also led American's two-car team to the silver medal at Nations Cup VII in Donington, England.
Before joining Hendrick Motorsports, Nadeau's last NASCAR rides were with Elliott-Marino Motorsports and Melling Racing.
"Jerry works well with Jeff Gordon and has great communication with his crew chief and crew. I can't say enough about how hard this team works and what they put into every race. I only see good things for this team and am excited to be a part of it."
Holigan has advanced his business from standard home design and building to specializing in the sale of building materials, products and services to home building companies, contractors, subcontractors and consumers via the Internet. This direction has greatly reduced the cost professional contractors pay in constructing a home.