By David G. Firestone
As predicted, it was announced today that Monster Energy will be the new series sponsor for what was the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. This had been predicted, and I watched the press conference. I took a couple things away from that conference.
*NASCAR is getting “significantly less” money for the sponsorship from Monster than they did from Sprint. This doesn’t come as a shock to me due to the fact that within the last 10 years, TV ratings, and race attendance are down. Obviously this had an effect on the overall deal, and Monster had the best deal for the amount of ideas for the price.
*Monster has made it clear that they will be more aggressive with marketing. This is not a minor issue, for the reason above. Monster wants to “bring more younger viewers into the sport, while not alienating the current fan base.” I’m paraphrasing, but that is a good approach. Spring didn’t seem to be as interested in marketing as they should have been, and the sport suffered as a result.
*Looking at their current sponsorships and their current attitude, Monster is a motorsports oriented sponsor. Between Formula 1, Kurt Busch, World Rally Cross, and now NASCAR, it’s clear that Monster was the best choice.
*I have to wonder how this will affect current sponsorships. One guarantee a series sponsor has is that it automatically becomes the only company that can sponsor cars in their industry. Monster could be in any number of industries. Monster Energy could be classified as being in the energy drink, soda, or beverage industry. If it is in the energy drink category, that would be the best thing, because that would mean that other soda and beer companies wouldn’t have any issues. If it is in the soda category, that could affect Hendrick Motorsports, who has deals with Pepsi, and BK Racing, who has deals with Dr. Pepper/7Up. If it is in the beverage industry, that could make it very difficult for teams to find new sponsors.
*While current sponsors will probably get grandfathered in by the current deal, there is no guarantee that the sponsorships will remain in place. Something could happen that would violate an agreement, and then certain sponsors will get banned. This isn’t an unreasonable thing to worry about. Under Nextel/Sprint, Verizon and AT&T were both banned from sponsoring cars in the premier series.
*and finally, I didn’t realize that Monster Energy was an independent company, that has some stock owned by Coca Cola. I had thought that Coca Cola had purchased Monster a few ears ago.
It should also be noted that the series name and logo are still being worked on, so as soon as those get revealed, I will discuss them at length.
UPDATE: Since Monster Energy is in the Energy Drink category, only current energy drink manufacturers will be impacted. The only major sponsor this affects is 5-Hour Energy, and there is some debate over whether they are an energy drink or energy shot, which could affect their sponsorship of future cars.