When NASCAR made the announcement on Thursday in Las Vegas that Monster Energy would be the entitlement sponsor for the Premier Series, I was ecstatic about what the potential future of this great sport would be. However, after days of deliberation and thinking about it I have some questions for NASCAR and Monster Energy.
The first question would be, How are you going to keep the legacy fans? Mark Hall, Chief Marketing Officer for Monster, stated, “Young people set trends in fashion, and then older people adapt, and I don't want to say old. Fashion is set by a small group of influencers. The challenge is to make your product relevant to that group and then have them influence the others.” The younger generation does set most of the trends in our society today. In my opinion, keeping the legacy fan is going to be a strong and uphill battle for NASCAR. If this new partnership cannot keep the attention of the legacy fans, then the efforts to reach the millennial will be worthwhile. Legacy fans will also help bring in that younger demographic NASCAR is so desperately trying to gain. The legacy fan has seen numerous changes done by the sanctioning body and have lost interest in the sport that they have grown up to know and love. They are tired of all the changes NASCAR has done to the sport over the past couple of years. How will Monster Energy help NASCAR keep these fans? Only time will tell.
The second question I have, Will this turn out to be like the now defunct Red Bull Racing? The comments made by NASCAR and Monster came across as the same tone as the executives of Red Bull when they announced that they would be fielding a two-car operation in the Premier Series. The demise of Red Bull probably came because of the time they entered the sport with the economy beginning to decline and Toyota entering into NASCAR. Energy drinks have gained in popularity. My hope is that Monster Energy will thrive and continue to partner with NASCAR for many years to come.
The third question is, What does this announcement do to the health of drivers? Brian Vickers was part of Red Bull Racing before ending his career at Michael Waltrip Racing. Where is Brian Vickers now? He is not driving a car due to receiving blood clots and being on blood thinners, as well as not being able to find a ride. However, when he was sidelined, brought huge red flags to me personally about energy drinks. Energy drinks have many side effects and the occurrence of blood clots is one of them. My hope is that the health of our drivers is not effected by the sponsorship of Monster. I do not want to see drivers have to end their careers prematurely, like Vickers, because of the side effects of energy drinks.
Do not get me wrong, I am truly excited about this new relationship from NASCAR with Monster. I am excited to see how and where Monster will take this sport. As Brian France stated on Thursday, “Motorsports is their DNA.” As the tide begins to change in NASCAR, the future is bright and I cannot wait to see how Monster helps grow the sport!