Monster Energy will remain the title sponsor of NASCAR’s premier series after agreeing to a one-year extension through the 2019 season but is not expected to return in that role, a senior NASCAR executive said Tuesday.
Steve Phelps, NASCAR Chief Operating Officer, said Tuesday that it is “highly unlikely” that Monster returns as series sponsor as NASCAR looks at a new model toward the entitlement sponsorship. Phelps said it was mutual on both sides to go only through 2019.
NASCAR is looking toward a new model for sponsorship. Phelps said NASCAR wants to bundle sponsorship with sanctioning body, tracks and media partners.
“We want to make sure that our sport is as easy or easier than other sports to do business with,” Phelps said. “We think this is a better model to make sure that sponsors want to stay involved. We think there’s an opportunity for them to feel more invested in the sport … more invested in the sport so they will turn around and do more activation.”
Phelps said he expects Monster Energy to remain in the sport. Monster Energy was aligned with drivers and a team before becoming series sponsor.
NASCAR announced the extension this afternoon. Sports Business Journal first reported the agreement Tuesday.
Monster Energy is in its second year as Cup Series title sponsor after agreeing to a deal in December 2016. The company was to have given NASCAR a decision before Jan. 1 about remaining as series sponsor but requested an extension since 2017 was its first season in that role.
Monster Energy, the fourth brand to sponsor Cup since 1971, is viewed as a company that can connect the sport with a younger demographic.
NASCAR Chairman Brian France was upbeat about what Monster Energy delivered in 2017.
“The promises they’ve made, they’ve kept, with the young demo, edgy shows, edgy marketing, putting our drivers in different places in different light,’’ France said in Nov. 2017 before the Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “That’s what we want. They’ve delivered on that.
“And like anything else, I think it will get better. This is also a hard program. It’s a complicated program. It’s the best program, but to execute across all these platforms, it’s a big, big sport. There’s nothing like it, so you don’t get an opportunity to just go, well, we’ll do it like that guy did it or this guy does it over here because nobody can have, today anyway, in a major sports league, an entitlement position like this, so it’s a great program ‑‑ and I think it will get better next year.’’
According to Directions Research, 11 million additional NASCAR fans are Monster Energy drinkers. According to the same research, 16 million additional NASCAR fans have heard of the Monster Energy brand.
Cup Series Sponsors
1971- 2003 — Winston
2004 – 2007 — Nextel
2008 – 2016 — Sprint
2017 – present — Monster Energy