NASCAR’s premier series has a long and rich history of stability when it comes to entitlement sponsors that began when R.J. Reynolds signed on to what came to be known as the Winston Cup Series. That relationship lasted until the tobacco companies came under fire by the government, but by that time, NASCAR was in a position to move and grow the sport to one that would take on a more national stage than the southeast portion of the country.
The sport was growing in leaps and bounds and TV could not get enough of the sport when Reynolds had no choice but to give up its sponsorship. NASCAR needed a company that needed national exposure and Nextel/Sprint gave the governing body not only the money it was wanting, but the national platform that it needed to grow the sport. The marriage between NASCAR and Nextel/ Sprint was a win for all parties but when the country’s economy began it suffer, the sport was hit hard as fans no longer were willing to show up each week at the track in the record numbers that the sport had been enjoying.
NASCAR no longer could demand the reported $100 million a year from an entitlement sponsor that it once did, and Sprint announced late in December of 2014 it would not be resigning once the contract was up at the end of the 2016 season. The search for a new sponsor began immediately and some of the biggest companies in the country were mentioned as possible suitors, but all of that speculation was laid to rest last week in Las Vegas while the sport was celebrating the just completed season and Jimmie Johnson’s seventh title.
The sanctioning body wanted an entitlement sponsor that would bring some excitement to the sport and that is exactly what it got when it announced that it had signed a multi-year deal with Monster Energy as the series’ sponsor when the 2017 season gets underway in February at Daytona. The length and terms of the agreement were not announced, but both sides said that the agreement was going to be a great fit for each.
Monster Energy is no stranger to motor sports as it has multiple sponsorships in a number of motorsports sanctioning bodies, but this new partnership with NASCAR will give it the national outlet to reach its target market. The company has built its brand on excitement and high-energy competition and now it will be associated with the number one motorsports series in the country that will give it tremendous exposure not only at the track but, more importantly, on television and other media outlets.
Monster Energy already had a presence in the series as it was a primary sponsor for Stewart-Haas Racing’s #41 team with driver Kurt Busch and will continue to remain in that capacity once the new season gets underway. The terms of the sponsorship will also make Monster Energy the sponsor of the NASCAR All-Star Race and it will also become the official energy drink of NASCAR.
While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, it is believed to be far less than what Nextel/Sprint paid when its partnership began with NASCAR, but that was a different environment. Now the sport needs to start attracting new fans to the stands and it is hopes the energy and enthusiasm of Monster will bring a new and younger fan into the sport. It’s late in the year to begin putting together a package for a new sponsor so it may take up to a year to get the new partnership up and running to the level where both parties are reaping the benefits of the deal.
PIT NOTES: Dodge has indicated that it is very interested in returning to the sport as it may have been a mistake when it left. At the time of its departure the company was coming out of bankruptcy, but all of that has now changed and it is looking for the right way to come back into the sport. There is no timetable for a possible return, but another manufacturer can only strengthen the sport.