LAS VEGAS — The long-rumored was made official on Thursday during Champion’s Week in Las Vegas, as NASCAR announced at the Wynn Las Vegas that Monster Energy will take over from Sprint as title sponsor of the sanctioning body’s premier stock car series in 2017.
The new partnership is a multi-year deal that will make Monster Energy only the third entitlement sponsor in premier series history, following R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and Sprint/Nextel. The company will begin its tenure as naming rights partner on Jan. 1, 2017.
As part of the agreement, the brand also becomes the Official Energy Drink of NASCAR, as well as the entitlement sponsor of the NASCAR All-Star Race.
The length and terms of the deal were not disclosed, but both parties hailed the partnership as the perfect fit for both brands.
“Monster Energy is a brand built on excitement and enthusiasm, qualities that align with NASCAR,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “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.”
NASCAR premier series races have been a bucket-list destination for sports fans throughout the country, and starting next season, Monster Energy will elevate the event experience to an even higher level. As part of the agreement, Monster Energy will engage with fans in creative, innovative ways at all race tracks where the premier series will race.
“Monster Energy has an established and versatile history in motorsports, and we’re thrilled to take this historic next step,” said Rodney Sacks, Monster Beverage Chairman and CEO. “We feel strongly that our brand is a perfect fit for this sport and its star athletes. We look forward to interacting with the millions of passionate NASCAR fans week-in, week out.”
Monster Energy has existing sponsorships with a number of motorsports sanctioning bodies, athletes and teams, but the NASCAR deal signals the biggest sponsorship step in the company’s history.
“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. … NASCAR is just a hard-hitting, close-racing, fun property to be associated with.”
Monster Energy also confirmed it will continue to sponsor Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 41 car, driven by Kurt Busch.
Thursday’s announcement is the culmination of a lengthy and thorough search by NASCAR to find the successor to Sprint, whose entitlement sponsorship will end on December 31, 2016.
Steve Phelps, NASCAR executive vice president and chief global sales and marketing officer, said that the sanctioning body spoke with numerous companies throughout the process, ultimately choosing Monster Energy for a number of reasons, not the least of which was its lifestyle culture.
“We have the good fortune of finding a brand that we believe works for our sport,” Phelps said. “They’re going to bring their lifestyle to their activation. … They’re going to bring their brand, their excitement, their energy to this partnership, and the fans are going to be the winners. It’s all about engaging the fans and having the fans have unique, fun experiences whether at the race track or through different mediums, through social, digital, content.”
A number of ancillary details will be announced in the coming weeks. Among those still under discussion is the name of the series, the series mark and the championship trophy.
“We are working on the exact composite logo and otherwise and we’ll be back shortly on that,” France said during Thursday’s press conference. “It won’t be long. We’ve got some really good options on that, but not today.”
Under the agreement, energy drink sponsors already involved in NASCAR may remain in place. Potential sponsors from the energy drink category will not be eligible for future sponsorship if not already involved in the sport.