NASCAR will no longer Sprint to the finish, and that change will mean big things for both brands. After the 2016 season, NASCAR’s top circuit will no longer be connected with the mobile carrier. The current agreement runs through 2016, and Sprint will not seek to renew.
Here’s Sprint’s related announcement: “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…”
Not entirely unsurprising. Sprint is in a cage match with T-Mobile for number 3 among the top mobile companies. They need to focus before Verizon and AT&T gobble up all the remaining market share. And, to be sure, it’s been a good run for Sprint and NASCAR.
The relationship goes all the way back to 2004, when Nextel became the title sponsor of the top NASCAR series. Four years later the Sprint Cup Series debuted. In those days Nextel was a huge market force and the push to talk functions were all the rage. Plus, the connection with the largely blue collar fans of NASCAR was a perfect pairing.
Now people want phones that text and do their taxes, not phones that are pretty much adult walkie-talkies. Sprint has to find another way to regain prominence. They are getting right on that. Meanwhile, NASCAR doesn’t exactly seem too broken up about losing their sponsor. Here’s their statement:
“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…”
They certainly had no trouble finding a partner for their junior circuit. The Nationwide Series will soon become the Comcast Series, beginning as soon as next year.
Given the massive popularity of NASCAR, it’s very likely the promotion will easily replace Sprint. And the de-coupling might even allow the mobile carrier to shed part of its lingering “talkie” image.