During Champion’s Week in Las Vegas, it was announced that Monster Energy will become the next sponsor of NASCAR’s Premier Series. They will be replacing Sprint, who held the title for ten years from 2004-2016. They become the third brand to be the entitlement sponsor (RJ Reynolds (Winston Cigarettes) and Sprint/Nextel).
Details of the deal with the energy drink company and North America’s No. 1 form of motorsports were not released, but ESPN’s business insider Darren Rovell reported that the deal was 40 percent of Sprint’s and upwards of $20 million per year. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France added that the deal is a multi-year one and includes options.
“Monster Energy is a brand built on excitement and enthusiasm, qualities that align with NASCAR,” France said in a press release. “This sponsorship position is the most unique in all of sports and entertainment, and we are thrilled to have a partner that will help us further elevate the series. Today’s announcement is the culmination of a thorough search, one that resulted in the right partner at this important time in our sport’s history.”
The search was one that took much longer than expected, two years to be exact. Sprint announced in December of 2014 that they would not return after the 2016 season. Due to the extreme monetary value that is required for a sponsor to be the title of the premier series, the search was incredibly tough. NASCAR wanted $1 billion for 10 years in their agreement (Sprint signed on for $750 million for a decade), but this deal is thought to be far less than expected.
“Monster has built its brand on racing and motorsports, and NASCAR is the pinnacle of motorsports in America,” said Mitch Covington, vice president of sports marketing at Monster Beverage Company. “It’s American racing; we’re an American brand that’s a global company, and NASCAR is, too. When the opportunity came along to further associate yourself with a sport like NASCAR, it was the perfect fit for us.”
Monster is expected to reach the millennial generation due to their high energy and appeal. They already sponsor a super cross series and pride themselves on making the event more than just a race or two, but more of an experience for the average fan, targeting the younger demographic. Chief Marketing Officer for the brand Mark Hall spoke to that point.
“We do have some ideas about how we can make NASCAR more attractive to what I would call a different audience than is currently there without detracting from what is already a great audience and a great fan base,” Hall told reporters at a press conference at the Wynn Hotel on the Las Vegas strip. “Like I said earlier, we have experience with that, and those fans do relate to our brand, and we think there’s an opportunity to bring some new ones in.”
Monster will also sponsor the All-Star Race in May, the preseason race in February formerly known as the Sprint Unlimited (now known as The Clash) and will continue to be a sponsor of the No. 41 car for Kurt Busch. The announcement was met with great excitement from the NASCAR community, and will take effect on January 1, 2017.