In a sure sign of troubling times for NASCAR, it’s title sponsor- Monster Energy- is asking for an extension for renewing it’s agreement with NASCAR until spring. You can spin it any way you want. I am trying to foresee a scenario whereby the energy drink maker keeps it going with NASCAR, and I don’t see it.
It’s hard to fathom what can possibly happen between now and springtime that would cause Monster Energy to continue on as title sponsor. I mean, what would it take? An epic Daytona 500? An innovation so captivating that the racing just ends up being a fan’s dream? The resurrection of NASCAR legends? What would happen that would captivate the sponsor so radically they would stay up? Perhaps renegotiating the price tag, I suppose. Something that would cause the value to exceed the cost.
This is news NASCAR doesn’t need. The empty seats and the lackluster ratings can’t be hidden. For all the feel good stories surrounding the unlikely champion Martin Truex, for all the promise associated with up and coming stars like Kyle Larson, there’s little excitement associated with NASCAR.
As it stands now, NASCAR has some time for contingency planning. Either they can get to the bottom of whatever pain Monster Energy is experiencing and fix the terms, or they can find someone else. The problem is that finding Monster wasn’t any small feat to begin with.
No, this isn’t the death of NASCAR. To be honest, a number of major sports are experiencing some pain associated with changing times. The NFL has problems associated with the National Anthem protests and player behavior. Major League Baseball has experienced a bumpy road, though the 2017 campaign seems to have eased some of the pain. For NASCAR, the reality is that it’s settling into the niche sport it really is, but it’s an incredibly expensive sport to pull off. As far as the fan is concerned, the value does not exceed the cost, and it shows.
Nah, NASCAR won’t die. It may change considerably, but racing will never die. The what to do about its problems is where the debate lies. In the meanwhile, corporate America watches with interest and plans accordingly.