New entitlement deal between NASCAR and Monster will grow both brands

Steve Phelps, Brian France, Mark Hall and Mitch Covington toast during a press conference as NASCAR and Monster Energy announce premier series entitlement partnership at Wynn Las Vegas on December 1, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Getty Images)
Steve Phelps, Brian France, Mark Hall and Mitch Covington toast during a press conference as NASCAR and Monster Energy announce premier series entitlement partnership at Wynn Las Vegas on December 1, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Getty Images)
Steve Phelps, Brian France, Mark Hall and Mitch Covington toast during a press conference as NASCAR and Monster Energy announce premier series entitlement partnership at Wynn Las Vegas on December 1, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – “Expansion” is the watchword for the new entitlement agreement between NASCAR and Monster Energy.

Described by NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France as “a multiyear agreement with some options,” the deal, announced on Thursday during a packed press conference at the Wynn Las Vegas, will put the Monster name on NASCAR’s premier racing series.

France said NASCAR and Monster are working on a specifics for a series name and mark. In stock car racing’s modern era, NASCAR’s top series has carried three names: Winston, Nextel and Sprint.

“Motorsports is in their DNA,” France said of NASCAR’s new partner. “Walk through their lobby in California—you see that. You see the motorcycles and NASCAR memorabilia and all kinds of things, and that’s who they are, so they understand motorsports.

“They understand NASCAR. They understand how to reach across and excite our core audience and help us deliver on a new audience, and that was very exciting for us.”

Monster isn’t new to NASCAR racing, having held relationships with drivers Robby Gordon, Ricky Carmichael, Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch. Mark Hall, chief marketing officer for Monster Energy, said those relationships would continue alongside the entitlement agreement.

“Kurt, you’re still going to drive,” Hall quipped, spotting Busch in the audience.

“To us, this isn’t unusual,” Hall continued. “It’s a logical extension of what we started nine years ago, and we’re fortunate that this opportunity came around and that NASCAR considered us and that we were able to get the deal done.”

Monster plans a robust activation at all NASCAR tracks. The brand has appeal to younger audiences as well as to the traditional NASCAR base.

“I think we have a lot of drinkers in the current NASCAR fan base,” Hall said. “I think we can make the sport more interesting to some younger consumers as well.”

The agreement represents the culmination of an exhaustive search, one that gave France and other NASCAR executives an opportunity to tell the sport’s story to a wide variety of potential partners.

“We had the opportunity to go out and talk to hundreds of brands, actually,” said Steve Phelps, NASCAR executive vice president and chief global sales and marketing officer. “And the great thing about having this opportunity which we haven’t had in 13 years…. We got to go out in the marketplace and talk about NASCAR and tell our story, tell the successful things that are happening with our sport.

“Our sport has changed a lot in those 13 years [since Sprint/Nextel was the entitlement partner]. So it gave us an opportunity to speak to great companies. Many of those companies are going to be new to NASCAR, and they’re going to bring their dollars to NASCAR, their activation to NASCAR, their brands to NASCAR—to tracks, to teams, to drivers, to our media partners.”

Sprint’s title sponsorship will end on Dec. 31.

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