Monster Energy officially named NASCAR premier series sponsor starting in 2017

After two years of speculation, NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France made the announcement Thursday afternoon that Monster would replace Sprint

Jerome Miron—USA Today Sports
Sprint Cup Series driver Kurt Busch (41) during practice for the Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Monster Energy announced on Thursday it will become the premier series sponsor for NASCAR in 2017.

Following a two-year search, NASCAR announced Thursday afternoon Monster Energy will take over as the title sponsor for the sport’s premier series.Sprint made the announcement back in December 2014 that it would be leaving the sport after a 14-year partnership that began as the Nextel Cup in 2003. In its place will be a company that was started in the final year of R.J. Reynolds sponsorship in 2002, potentially bringing the sport to a new demographic.”Monster Energy is a brand built on excitement and enthusiasm, qualities that align withNASCAR,” said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO. “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.”France also revealed the deal is a multi-year deal “with some options.” He would not reveal the specifics of the deal nor the exact name or logo of the premier series. Pressed about whether the deal was less financially for NASCAR than the Sprint deal in previous years, France also didn’t give specifics.Monster Energy has been in NASCAR for multiple years, sponsoring Kyle Busch at the Xfinity Series level and, starting last season, Kurt Busch as a primary sponsor. Monster Chief Marketing Officer and Director confirmed that Kurt will still keep Monster as his primary sponsor next season.”They’re an edgy brand. They’re a fun brand,” France said of Monster. “They get after the millennial audience in a different way than clearly we’ve ever been associated with at this level. And they know what they’re doing. This is their DNA. … These guys are ready on day one.”We’re very confident this is the right sponsor for us.”Competing with energy drinks like Red Bull and AMP Energy, Monster has found success in several other circuits such as Supercross motocross series. Whether it’s Ronda Rousey or Cain Velasquez in MMA, Tiger Woods in golf or the Busch brothers in NASCAR, the company has found ways to reach its audience in non-traditional ways.”The challenge is to make your product relevant to [younger] groups then make your product successful,” Hall said. “Because we do market in a non-traditional way, we count on our athletes and fans to do our marketing. … We have never created a commercial or ad. Looking at this opportunity where our names are linked so synonymously, we think this will serve as our form of traditional marketing.”Along with the naming rights to the premier series, Monster will also have the naming rights for the All-Star Race and become the official energy drink of the sport. Speedway Motorsports Inc. President and CEO Marcus Smith, who will host the All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, provided his thoughts on the move.”This is a tremendous announcement for our sport,” Smith said in a release. “Monster Energy has been an innovative and groundbreaking marketer across many sports and entertainment platforms and the company’s high-impact approach will be a terrific fit for NASCAR. We look forward to working with them at each of our speedways.”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 racetrack or through different mediums, through social, digital, content.”Phelps said 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.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.