Sprint, NASCAR Partnership To End After 2016 Season
Sprint announced on Tuesday that it will not extend its sponsorship of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beyond 2016. The significant changes within Sprint and the highly competitive business environment it is in led to a decision not to extend its Cup Series entitlement position following the 2016 season.
“We are proud of our association with NASCAR’s top series but have made the decision not to extend our sponsorship beyond the next two years,” Sprint’s vice president-Marketing Steve Gaffney said. “As we look to the future, Sprint is focused on investing in maintaining a competitive edge and providing consumers with the best value in wireless.”
By the end of the extension signed in 2011, Sprint and NASCAR will have enjoyed a 13-year mutually beneficial relationship. The partnership has produced demonstrated results for Sprint and delivered the best racing in the world to millions of passionate fans on a weekly basis.
“Sprint has long benefitted from the unprecedented level of brand integration available in NASCAR, and the passionate fan base that is the most loyal in sports,” Gaffney said. “Without question, the NASCAR sponsorship property has been a valuable investment for us and will be for our successor.”
Sprint’s integration into the sport was a prime example of a sponsor validating its technology in NASCAR. As a leading communications services company dedicated to delivering the best value in wireless, it became an innovative leader in the sport as well.
In 2004, Nextel signed a 10-year agreement, the longest series entitlement partnership in NASCAR history at the time. In 2005, the company introduced a next-generation scanner known as FanView. In 2007, Miss Sprint Cup joined the sport, and the ambassador program now reaches 1.5 million social media followers. While the name changed to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2008, the innovations continued that year with the launch of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile application.
“Sprint has been a great partner,” NASCAR Chief Operating Officer Brent Dewar said. “They’ve done a lot to help us grow the sport together at a very important time in our history.
“They made it very clear to us that they’re proud to have been a partner with NASCAR, have seen great value in their investment and are very happy to share that with any brand that comes in to replace them.”
As a new partner joins the ranks of nearly one-in-four FORTUNE 500 companies already investing in NASCAR, the sport’s value proposition was recognized in 2014 by two national series entitlement sponsors.
“Camping World announced their seven-year extension, which will take us through 2022 giving us 14 consecutive years together — which is an incredible statistic in its own right,” Dewar said. “Follow it up with Comcast’s XFINITY brand, obviously a big company that saw the value to join us for the next 10 years which matches our longest series entitlement in NASCAR history.
“Combined with the new Chase format and the things we’re doing on the track, we’ve got a great story to tell for some interested parties that are looking for a way to bring their product and brands and connect them with the loyal fan base we have in NASCAR.”
Dewar noted that digital properties and products have extended NASCAR’s 10-month season to “virtually 365 days of the year” that goes beyond the “more than 5 million viewers to the Sprint Cup Series every single weekend that we race.” NASCAR’s viewership numbers and constant content led FOX and NBC to secure media rights for 10 years at a reported $8.2 billion. The new broadcast agreements begin next year and extend through 2024.
“To those brands that are looking to partner with us, we bring a great fan base that’s highly engaged in the sport, and they’re highly engaged with the sponsors that support the sport,” Dewar said.
————–NASCAR Statement from Brett Jewkes, NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer, on NASCAR and Sprint Partnership
“NASCAR and Sprint have enjoyed a long and productive partnership that has returned significant value to both parties. We understand significant changes within Sprint and the highly competitive business environment it is in has led to a decision not to extend its Cup Series entitlement position following the 2016 season. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is a very unique, premium sports marketing platform with strong momentum, so we are very confident of moving forward in 2017 with an outstanding new partner. In the meantime, we look forward to Sprint’s partnership on the best racing series in the world for the next two seasons.”