It took longer than expected, but finally it's here.
NASCAR announced Tuesday that it has reached a one-year contract extension with Monster Energy to remain the title sponsor for the Cup Series, according to sources close to the situation. Monster Energy's original agreement with NASCAR, signed in December 2016, was for a two-year partnership.
Monster was previously supposed to negotiate an extension with NASCAR before January 1, but the company requested an extension because it was in its first year of title sponsorship.
This extension was initially expected to be for two years, but instead is only for one. This could potentially allow for NASCAR to disengage from a title sponsor after 2019 and opt for a new business model, something that the sport has considered.
"NASCAR and Monster Energy enjoyed a productive first year and both parties have benefited significantly from the partnership," said Steve Phelps, NASCAR COO. "Monster Energy successfully utilized our sport as a platform to elevate its brand and drive business, while introducing NASCAR to new audiences. With this renewal, we look forward to building upon our early successes."
With the agreement in place, Monster Energy is set to remain the face of NASCAR's top series through 2019.
Monster is just the fourth title sponsor in the history of NASCAR's Cup Series. Winston held the mantle for the longest time, stretching from 1971 until 2003. Then came Nextel from 2004-2007, followed by Sprint from 2008-2016.
One of the reasons NASCAR sought out a brand such as Monster Energy for its title sponsorship was to help attract a new generation of fans. Monster's brand — which stresses action, flash, and excitement — was a way for NASCAR to better reach the 18-34 demographic.
According to NASCAR and Nielsen, Monster Energy gained more than half a billion dollars in sponsorship exposure value from the TV broadcasts of races alone — that number even surpasses Sprint's exposed value in 2016.
This is a developing story and will be updated.