Monster Energy to extend sponsorship deal with NASCAR Cup Series


Monster Energy and NASCAR have agreed to an extension of their sponsorship agreement, a source familiar with the negotiations told ESPN on Tuesday.

The energy drink company had signed a two-year deal in December 2016 for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, with an option to extend the deal. An announcement is expected Tuesday on the length of the new deal.

The original deal was estimated to be worth $20 million per year as NASCAR spent a full year finding the replacement for Sprint.

NASCAR had hoped its Monster Energy relationship would help attract younger fans, while Monster executives had hoped to tap into NASCAR’s older fan base.

“We’ve been really pleased with how Monster has come in and engaged with our fans. … In all markets, it’s been fantastic,” NASCAR chairman Brian France said in November. “Their young, edgy demo. They’re motorsports-centric, and they always have been in their culture. We’re really pleased.

“I’ve been out to their headquarters three different times to work with them, because this is also a complicated sport to make sure that they’re getting all the value. But they’re getting a lot of value, and we’re very pleased with where that relationship is.”

Monster chairman Rodney Sacks told financial analysts in January that the sponsorship helped expand awareness of the brand.

“We have gotten a lot more visibility, a lot more recognition for the brand through the NASCAR sponsorship,” Sacks said. “It’s very expansive. It’s on TV, it’s appearing on talk shows. We look at the metrics that the NASCAR folk give us, and it certainly does seem to have been enhanced.

“Now the degree is, to what degree? That we don’t know. … It took us a little bit of time [in 2017] to get up to speed, to get our activation going. We think we’ll see a lot clearer benefits and more benefits coming from that relationship this year.”

The extension with Monster is positive news for NASCAR, which continues to seek ways to reenergize its fan base. The public companies that own tracks reported that admissions were down 2.7 percent in 2017 — the 10th-consecutive year of falling admissions revenue, albeit a much smaller decline than the 7.4 percent in 2016.

According to track operator International Speedway Corp. annual reports, NASCAR Cup races on television averaged 4.1 million viewers per minute in 2017, down 10.9 percent from 4.6 million viewers in 2016.

“It’s been a great brand for our sport,” ISC president John Saunders said on a conference call April 3 with financial analysts. “It speaks to a younger demographic. By all metrics from their perspective, we think it’s been successful.”

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