Monster Energy to sponsor NASCAR's top series starting in 2017

ByBob Pockrass ESPN logo
Thursday, December 1, 2016

LAS VEGAS -- NASCAR announced Monster Energy as the replacement for Sprint as the sponsor of NASCAR's premier series on Thursday.

NASCAR Chairman Brian France said it is a multiyear deal with options, but would not talk about the terms of the deal. He also said a name for the series would be announced at a later date.

"Monster Energy is a brand built on excitement and enthusiasm, qualities that align with NASCAR," France said in a statement. "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."

Sprint announced in December 2014 it would not return after the 2016 season, and NASCAR has spent nearly the past two years searching for a replacement.

Coming down to the wire to get a sponsor for 2017, NASCAR needed a sponsor if it didn't want to foot the bill for what the sponsor contributes to NASCAR as well as marketing the sport.

Past sponsors R.J. Reynolds, Nextel and Sprint spent tens of millions of dollars promoting the sport. When Nextel signed its deal in 2003, it was reported its total spending was approximately $70-75 million a year.

Sprint (which assumed the sponsorship through its Nextel merger) renegotiated its deal when it signed an extension for 2014 to 2016 that reports have pegged at closer to a $50 million minimum annual commitment. It also sponsored two exhibition races -- the preseason race at Daytona and the all-star race at Charlotte.

Monster will sponsor the all-star race at Charlotte this season.

A powerful force in the energy drink category and owned 16.8 percent by Coca-Cola, Monster Energy turned a $546 million profit in 2015.

Monster has been involved in NASCAR for several years, currently sponsoring Kurt Busch and previously his brother Kyle. Kyle is sponsored by Nos, which is owned by Monster Beverage Company, in the Xfinity Series. Monster also has been involved in motorsports by sponsoring the Supercross motocross series.