France Brings Team to Meet With Monster In Corona, Ca.

By Jerry Jordan, Editor

CONCORD, N.C. – Although NASCAR officials meet routinely, even daily, with official partners, Chairman and CEO Brian France recently took several key executives on a trip to Corona, Ca. to continue his direct involvement in entitlement sponsorship relations with Monster Energy.

There was no emergency and the sky was not falling. Rather, it was a chance to review the season heading into the Monster Energy All-Star Weekend. In fact, many people may not realize it but France was instrumental in bringing in Monster Energy for the naming rights of NASCAR’s Cup Series and he is routinely involved in discussions and meetings with major sponsors of the sport. As part of that commitment, he frequently talks with Monster Energy executives and asked for the face-to-face meeting, this past Monday, to see how well the two companies have come together since the announcement in December 2016.

“We don’t confirm who, when or what we are meeting with our partners about but we do it routinely, even daily,” said a NASCAR spokesperson. “If we weren’t meeting with those people most directly involved in the sport then we wouldn’t be doing our jobs.

“You may recall that Brian France was directly involved with bringing Monster Energy on-board, so it would not be abnormal for him to be involved in any meetings with our entitlement sponsor. So far, we think things have been going well and we have heard a lot of positives from Monster Energy, as well.”

Last December, when the deal was first announced at the Wynn Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, France talked about his involvement and why Monster Energy was the perfect fit for NASCAR.

“It’s one of the few sales calls that I actually personally made because of how important it was to align ourselves with a dynamic brand that reaches different places and different audiences, and they made us feel very comfortable over time on a couple things,” France said, at the time. “This is a partnership that we want to build on over time. It’s a very difficult agreement to come to because of the complexities of it, the track component, very important, media component is very important, all had to be sorted out, but nonetheless, we have reached a great spot.”

Sitting beside France was then-Chief Marketing Officer for Monster Energy, Mark Hall, who talked about how big the deal was for Monster Energy. It was, and still is, the largest sponsorship in the company’s history. It may also have been the feather in Hall’s cap that he needed to take a break after 20 years of helping build Monster Energy into a behemoth energy drink company. This past month, he stepped down from his role as chief marketing officer but continue to focus on developing new flavors and packaging for the company, Kickin’ the Tires has confirmed. It’s a move similar to one he took a sabbatical several years ago in an effort to recharge.

According to a corporate filing on April 24, “Mark J. Hall has decided to reduce his responsibilities to spend more time with family. As a result, Mr. Hall will be relinquishing his position as Chief Marketing Officer of Monster Energy Company and delivered notice of his resignation from such position on April 21, 2017, effective May 1, 2017. Mr. Hall will continue to serve as an employee of the Company, focusing on ideation, design and development of new products. Mr. Hall will also continue to serve as a director of Monster Beverage Corporation.”

It would appear partnering with NASCAR has benefitted Monster Energy significantly, as the company’s 10Q filing for the first quarter of 2017 shows a $61.9 million increase in year-over-year net sales ending March 31. This year Monster Energy ended Q1 with $742,146,000 in net sales and last year the Q1 net sales were $680,186,000. Additionally, net income is up $14.1 million.

Since NASCAR doesn’t discuss its meetings with sponsors and partners, there is no way of knowing if Hall’s decision prompted the meeting this week or if it was to simply see where everyone was at and how they planned to continue moving forward.

A source inside the sanctioning body did say the two companies have met frequently to discuss how to make the racing more exciting and enjoyable for fans, while at the same time, enhancing the brand awareness for Monster Energy. The source said, unlike the previous entitlement sponsors in NASCAR, Monster Energy doesn’t have a massive promotions or engagement departments, nor does it have a marketing agency on speed dial to implement the newest idea. Monster Energy just makes things happen, the source said, and they do it with a close-nit group of company executives.

Monster Energy Vice President of Sports Marketing, Mitch Covington, said that overall he is pleased with how things were going with NASCAR. He also said Hall deserved a break from the day-to-day grind after devoting so much of his time and energy into growing Monster Energy.

“We had a routine meeting with NASCAR,” Covington said. “Just an update and good discussions about the season. I think we are aligning well. Monster Energy wants the same things the fans and the rest of the stakeholders want, which is fun race days, great media and TV and close racing.

“As for Mark, I’m very proud for him.”

At Charlotte Motor Speedway, it’s impossible to miss how well Monster Energy has integrated into the sport. With haulers moving in for the Monster Energy Open and the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race, logos abound featuring the iconic Monster Claw in what is the best visual representation of the partnership, to date.

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