NASCAR Chairman Brian France said Thursday it was a multiyear deal with options but would not comment on how much the deal was worth nor say what the name of what is now the "Sprint Cup Series" would be starting in 2017.
Monster Energy, which will begin its tenure as naming rights partner on January 1, 2017, will become only the third company to serve as the entitlement sponsor in NASCAR premier series history, following RJ Reynolds and Sprint/Nextel.
After many months of speculation and almost two years after Sprint confirmed its departure, Nascar has formally announced that Monster Energy will be the new title sponsor of its premier racing series.
Monster Energy makes energy drinks (its chief competitor is Red Bull) and is based in Corona, Calif. Monster has a long history in motorsports sponsorships, including being the title sponsor of the Monster Energy Super Cross motorcycle racing series.
Speaking at a launch event in Las Vegas on Thursday, France added that the approach to Monster Energy was "one of the few sales calls I actually personally made".
The announcement comes two years after Sprint said they would be leaving NASCAR, and while terms and length of this deal were not announced, Fox Sports reported that Sprint was paying around $75 million on its original ten-year contract. R.J. Reynolds, through its Winston brand, served as entitlement sponsor from 1972-2003, with Nextel replacing the cigarette maker in 2004.
What does this do for the financial health of NASCAR, which has had recent declines in attendance and television ratings?
The deal was the source of speculation for days prior to Thursday's announcement.
We chose to see how fans weighed in on the news and the results were rather close with about a 60/40 split of people in favor of Monster Energy as the new sponsor. Monster also sponsors Kurt Busch's NASCAR Cup team.
Monster created publicity this week with its logo splashed on Tiger Woods' golf bag as he makes his return from injury in a tournament in the Bahamas. "They're a fun brand", France said of Monster. Sprint announced in December 2014 that it would not extend the deal.
With the 2017 season-opening Daytona 500 a little more than two months out, both NASCAR and Monster will be tasked with maximizing their joint marketing efforts.
Thursday's announcement gives NASCAR and Monster a little more than two months to prepare for the start of 2017 season, which begins with the Daytona 500 on February 26. Previous title sponsors have spent tens of millions of dollars promoting the sport.
Denny Hamlin also gave his thoughts, saying, "I think that's big for us. That was very exciting for us".
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