News & Media

Sprint extends deal with NASCAR through 2016

December 03, 2011, David Caraviello,

LAS VEGAS -- The Sprint Cup will keep its title for a while longer.

Sprint chief executive officer Dan Hesse said Friday during the sport's premier-series awards ceremony that the company had extended its agreement with NASCAR through 2016. The original contract between NASCAR and Sprint was struck in 2004 and was a 10-year deal, meaning that the parties have agreed to a three-year extension. The agreement was first made with Nextel, which was later bought by Sprint.

"I could not be more pleased than to announce and celebrate tonight that Sprint and NASCAR have agreed to an extension of our relationship," Hesse said during the banquet at Wynn Las Vegas, "ensuring that through at least the 2016 season, every champion crowned will be a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion."

Sprint officials would not discuss financial terms of the agreement, but praised what it does for their business. Steve Gaffney, the company's vice president for corporate marketing, said after Friday's ceremony that not renewing was never really an option.

"I'd say that for us, as we were looking through the negation period, and considering the relationship and the success we've enjoyed over the last eight years ... it probably wasn't an option for us not to do it," he said. "It's too important for us as a brand. It's an incredible relationship. It's a great sport. As you heard from the drivers tonight, their description of the racing, the enthusiasm of the fans, the product of the track -- we couldn't be more proud to be associated with NASCAR, and we look forward to this relationship growing more and more over the coming years."

Friday, Sprint's involvement was clear as it awarded Tony Stewart a $5.8 million check for winning the series championship. Steve Phelps, NASCAR's chief marketing officer, said the agreement is particularly helpful in a time when sponsors are tough to come by for many teams.

"We're pleased to have Sprint back and to have an extension," Phelps said. "We have two more years on what was the original agreement, plus three more. Certainly to have a brand like Sprint, who is our entitlement partner and our largest sponsor in the sport, to come back and essentially review early for us is huge. I think it provides a lot of wind at our back. We had a great year at the track, an incredible Chase with the best finish we've had ever in our Sprint Cup history. So yeah, I think it will provide some significant wind at our back and help those teams that are still looking for sponsorship."