With Champions’ Week taking place in Las Vegas, celebrating the end of the 2016 NASCAR season, a press conference was held on Thursday announcing Monster Energy as the new sponsor for its premier series.
Monster Energy to Sponsor NASCAR Premier Series
After an eight-year partnership (and an additional four years under NEXTEL), Sprint is out as the sponsor of NASCAR’s top series and will be replaced by Monster Energy on a multi-year deal. The official series name has not yet been announced, nor has the financial term of the agreement.
Monster will remain the primary sponsor of Kurt Busch. The company praised his involvement as brand ambassador during the press conference. Additionally, it was announced that energy drinks currently associated with NASCAR will be allowed to remain in the sport (such as 5-Hour Energy). However, others such as Red Bull (who pulled from the sport in 2012), and those looking to enter will have to wait until after the deal expires.
The drivers’ reactions to the change in sponsorship has been positive.
— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) December 1, 2016
Big for the sport. https://t.co/avLVnaR6bg
— Ryan Blaney (@Blaney) December 1, 2016
Cutting edge brand that has the potential to bring a millennial fan base to our sport. https://t.co/tqpAf52B0F
— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) December 1, 2016
Brad Keselowski’s comments draw to an important issue. NASCAR is becoming a sport with a fan base dominated by an older generation. It is having trouble connecting with millennials. Brian France had this to say about the partnership.
“Monster is going to interact with our fans in a way no one has before — on and off the track,” said France. The deal is a “multiyear agreement with some options,” according to France.
Aim and Drawbacks
Their goal is to bring back younger fans especially since there is more young talent in the sport than ever before with exciting young stars such as Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones, among others. The goal, through the sponsorship, is to attract younger fans through their strategic marketing and get millennials to follow NASCAR. Monster has previous experience in motorsports as sponsors of Supercross motorcycle racing, along with partnerships in F1, MotoGP, Rally, Drifting and Touring Car series to name a few. They have done a masterful job of bringing a ‘cool’ factor to the sports they sponsor and the drink itself, thus drawing in younger fans.
The drawback, of course, is young people (and to a lesser extent) older consuming energy drinks in large quantities. Children as old as 12 could get caffeine poisoning from just a single energy drink. Children at these ages are the ones who the sport is trying to draw back in. As well, the current average age of the fan base, at 44 years old, would have some risk of heart issues if they were to consume too many energy drinks at one time. This is something the sport and title sponsor would have to monitor. Perhaps some sort of educational safety release would be useful.
In the end, this is a good move. Sprint, at times, was criticized for lack of interest in the sport despite pouring in more than $75 million per season. Monster, on the other hand, is known for its passion for all things racing in all different series. They have great marketing and would be the perfect sponsor to bring back young fans. Drivers are happy and fans seem to be happy. Due to this new deal, the future of the series looks bright once again.