|Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images|
At the start of the 2017 NASCAR season, the green flag for the Daytona 500 will drop inaugurating a new path for their biggest stakes tour. First and foremost, NASCAR's top series will no longer be known as the Sprint Cup Series. In a brief statement issued by NASCAR on Tuesday afternoon, it was announced cellular phone service provider Sprint would not renew their title sponsor role in the premier stock car racing series.
Citing the need to concentrate on their core business, Sprint has decided not to renew their title sponsorship commitment to NASCAR. Steve Gaffney, Sprint's vice president of marketing commented, “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,”. Gaffney also stated, “We genuinely appreciate the fans, teams, drivers, tracks and media who have been so supportive and welcoming to us during these many race seasons,” adding how Sprint looks forward to fulfilling the final years of their current deal.
The series had been known as NASCAR Sprint Cup since 2008 but the original contract began in 2004 through the company Nextel. Called the Nextel Cup Series for a single season, Sprint and Nextel merged in 2005. The original ten-year naming right deal for the NASCAR series was extended at the end of the term to three additional seasons. The Nextel-Sprint arrangement replaced a long-running sponsorship deal with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company resulting in the existence of the Winston Cup Series for 33 seasons. Besides the series title sponsorship, Sprint has also been providing their brand name to the invitational event at Daytona International Speedway and the all-star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The Sprint Cup Series isn't going to be the first major touring division of NASCAR to undergo a rebranding. Starting next year, Comcast's Xfinity brand will be the new title sponsor in the NASCAR division previously known as the Nationwide Series.