Sprint Preparing To Return for lame duck year with NASCAR

Sprint is preparing to return in '16 "for a lame-duck year as title sponsor of NASCAR’s Cup Series, though the sponsor was open to leaving early if the opportunity arose," according to sources cited by Adam Stern in this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL.

Sources said that the K.C.-based cellphone carrier "indicated to NASCAR months ago that if the sanctioning body found a brand that wanted to take over starting in 2016, Sprint would be open to the arrangement." The window to get a replacement by next year "has about closed due to the immense logistical planning and execution that go into such a switch."

Sources said that brands that "have been pitched on the title sponsorship include Panasonic, LG, Coca-Cola, Goodyear, Comcast and Hisense." Sources added that Hisense "showed the most interest thus far, though the China-based consumer electronics brand has decided against it for now."

NASCAR "went to market" asking $100M per year for a minimum of 10 years. Sources said that categories that "are being pursued by NASCAR for the title sponsorship include consumer electronics, financial services and telecommunications." The latter two of those "are either completely or relatively competition-free in NASCAR, which makes them desirable because they would create fewer issues for NASCAR teams during an eventual changeover from Sprint."

Sources pointed out that a deal of this magnitude "was almost always going to take two years to complete, which speaks more to the glacial pace of corporations than anything else" SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL

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