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Sprint to End Sponsorship of NASCAR’s Top Series After 2016 Season

In what is perhaps the biggest announcement this offseason so far, telecommunications giant Sprint has informed NASCAR that the corporation will not be extending its title sponsorship of the sport’s premiere series after the conclusion of the 2016 season. According to a release from Sprint, the company cites a need to “focus more directly on its core business priorities.”

“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. 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,” Sprint vice president of marketing Steve Gaffney said. “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. Without question, the NASCAR sponsorship property has been a valuable investment for us and will be for our successor.”

Known first as the NEXTEL Cup, then Sprint Cup after a buyout of Nextel, the series has flourished together with Sprint. The relationship between Sprint and NASCAR began back in 2004 after longtime series partner, Winston ended their title sponsorship deal. Since then Sprint has helped to transform the sport into the 21st century and brought NASCAR racing to millions of new fans, and a new level globally, including introducing new technology to fans and teams alike.

In a statement released by NASCAR, senior vice president and chief communications officer Brett Jewkes spoke candidly about the Sprint relationship.

“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,”

Frontstretch.com will have further details on this story as they become available.

About the author

Greg has been with Frontstretch since 2014. A life-long NASCAR follower armed with an extensive sport and digital marketing background, Greg assists the marketing team and helps to manage relationships with some of the website's sponsors. From time to time his work appears on Frontstretch, focusing on the business side of racing and how financial partnerships are affecting the sport. He and his family reside in southern Connecticut.

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Hopefully, they will find a new title sponsor that will create fewer conflicts with race team sponsors. It’s hurt race teams that other telecoms have been barred from sponsoring cars (AT&T leaving RCR, Verizon leaving Penske). You could see this coming. Sprint has been losing badly to Verizon and AT&T in the marketplace. I don’t think there are many race fans, myself included, that would chain themselves to an inferior service in a 2-year contract just because they sponsor a race car series. Hopefully also, the NASCAR mobile app will either become a free service or cheaper with Sprint out of the picture.


Add to the list the stink Sunoco raised about the prominence of the Shell logo on the 29 car and even the crew members’ uniforms after Harvick won the Daytona 500 in 2007. You can’t watch a race for more than 5 minutes without knowing Sunoco is the official fuel of NASCAR.

Tim S.

Even if there weren’t the exclusivity agreements, they’d just snap up any potential new players as the official whatever of NASCAR/ISC. Remember the Gatorade/PowerAde issue a few years ago, when one was the official drink of NASCAR and the other of Daytona? They’ll do that with Verizon and AT&T at midnight on 12/31/16 if they can get away with it.


I do remember that whole PowerAde/Gatorade issue, when the teams would knock the sign of the drink they weren’t affiliated with off the roof of the car in Victory Lane.
Now that I have re-read the official NASCAR statement, can someone clue me in on the “strong momentum”?

Capt Spaulding

“brought racing to millions of new fans”,,,,,,and at the same time in conjunction with Fox, the Waltrips, COT’s and BZF brainfarts, lost millions of the true longtime fans.


It looks like Sprint’s ROI isn’t what Brian promised.

I wonder if the results of Brian’s brilliant Chase idea have anything to do with their decision.

I’ve been wondering for a long time if the talking heads get a kickback every time they say Sunoco? Or is it just in their contracts?

There’s also the Coke-Pepsi issue.

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