NASCAR Remains Without Title Sponsor for ’19, RV Sales Booming

Monster Energy Co. (MNST) is signed on as NASCAR’s title sponsor for the 2018 Cup Series, the 2nd year of a 2-year $40 million contract signed in December ’16, but the company has yet to announce its intentions for 2019. MNST must decide within the next 30 days if it intends on extending the partnership through the 2020 season. On the surface, it appears that MNST is getting strong value. Sprint paid $50 million/season for title sponsorship rights between 2014 and 2016; but television ratings (down 45% since ’05) and race attendance (admission revenue down 52.7% over last 9 seasons) prevent MNST’s decision from being an easy one.

Howie Long-Short: NASCAR attendance may be down, but RV sales are booming! Thor Industries, the owner of Airstream and Jayco (THO), just reported its all-time best quarter (up 30.6% to $2.2 billion in revenue). Company shares are up 55% YTD, with competitors Winnebago (WGO) and Camping World (CWH) also experiencing strong growth this year (72% and 43%, respectively). An influx of first-time buyers (34% in ’16), a wealth of retiring baby boomers (10,000/day) and record high consumer sentiment levels (a key with large discretionary items), are driving the growth.

Fan Marino: NASCAR held its 2017 Cup Awards ceremony celebrating champion Martin Truex Jr. and providing a farewell to Dale Earnhardt Jr. (winner of NMPA Most Popular Driver award and the Bill France Award of Excellence award), but it was CEO Bill France’s odd behavior that had social media stirring. The NASCAR CEO awarded Truex Jr. his championship ring, leaving the stage without shaking the champion’s hand; he also had a notably brief introduction prepared for Earnhardt Jr., winner of the award in his late father’s name. You can watch the video here. Strange stuff.

A Monster Of A Suspenseful Month Could Be Looming For NASCAR

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Kevin Harvick’s Investment Portfolio, DANICA Premiers Tonight

Kevin Harvick won the Monster Energy (MNST) NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motors Speedway last weekend, which gives him a spot in the “Championship Four”; the 4 remaining drivers who will race for the title at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 19th. JWS got the exclusive opportunity to sit down Kevin to discuss his investment portfolio, sponsorship partners and sports marketing agency.

JWS: How important is it to you to have sponsors that you would invest in?

Kevin Harvick: The companies that you believe in and invest in, are the companies that you want on your car. I can tell you Exxon Mobil (XOM) is in my portfolio.

JWS: How have you managed to maintain long-term partnerships with several of your sponsors?    

Kevin Harvick: We’ve been fortunate through the years to develop what we have with the Busch Brand (BUD), Jimmy John’s, who’s been with us since 2009 and Textron (TXT), who started with us back in 2007. We’ve kind of found the niche with each of those companies in terms of what they like to do, how they like to entertain and where they like go.

JWS: Does having KHI Management (his sports marketing agency) help in terms of signing NASCAR sponsorship deals?

Kevin Harvick: The thing that makes us unique and different is that we have a sports agency that represents 2 PGA golfers, Donald Cerrone (UFC) and Harrison Burton (motocross). We’ve tried to make ourselves more diverse so that when we are trying to cut a deal for a NASCAR sponsorship, we have a family of assets that we can blend in; golf tournaments, UFC fights, etc.

JWS: How closely do you follow the market?

Kevin Harvick: I wake up with Maria (Bartiromo). I like to understand what is happening in the world. I spend a lot of time paying attention to it because I’m intrigued by it.  

Howie Long-Short: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) acquired Epix, buying out Viacom (VIAB) and Lionsgate (LGF.A) back in April for $1.031 billion. The company has underperformed over the last 6 months (+2.8% compared with industry-wide growth of 15.6%), and analysts are projecting Q3 earnings ($.33/share) that would be a 43% YOY decline. The company will report later today.

Fan Marino: If you enjoy sports documentaries, check out DANICA; premiering this evening at 8p EST on Epix (or for free at epix.com). The film, directed by broadcasting pioneer Hannah Storm, focus on Danica Patrick; the most successful woman in the history of professional motorsports. It’s a rare, candid look at Danica as a competitor eagerly preparing for her next race; a woman confidently considering when she wants to start a family; and a budding mogul carefully considering thinking about her next steps.

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EXCLUSIVE: KEVIN HARVICK DISCUSSES HIS PERSONAL PORTFOLIO

The Monster Energy (MNST) NASCAR Cup Series playoffs are underway, with 16 drivers competing to be crowned Champion at the Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 19th. JWS got the exclusive opportunity to sit down with 2014 Champion, Kevin Harvick to discuss his investment portfolio, sponsorship partners and sports marketing agency.

JWS: How important is it to you to have sponsors that you would invest in?

Kevin Harvick: The companies that you believe in and invest in, are the companies that you want on your car. I can tell you Exxon Mobil (XOM) is in my portfolio.

JWS: How have you managed to maintain long-term partnerships with several of your sponsors?    

Kevin Harvick: We’ve been fortunate through the years to develop what we have with the Busch Brand (BUD), Jimmy John’s, who’s been with us since 2009 and Textron (TXT), who started with us back in 2007. We’ve kind of found the niche with each of those companies in terms of what they like to do, how they like to entertain and where they like go.

JWS: Does having KHI Management (his sports marketing agency) help in terms of signing NASCAR sponsorship deals?

Kevin Harvick: The thing that makes us unique and different is that we have a sports agency that represents 2 PGA golfers, Donald Cerrone (UFC) and Harrison Burton (motocross). We’ve tried to make ourselves more diverse so that when we are trying to cut a deal for a NASCAR sponsorship, we have a family of assets that we can blend in; golf tournaments, UFC fights, etc.

JWS: How closely do you follow the market?

Kevin Harvick: I wake up with Maria (Bartiromo). I like to understand what is happening in the world. I spend a lot of time paying attention to it because I’m intrigued by it.  

Fan Marino: Textron is a large cap aerospace, defense, security and advanced technologies industrial conglomerate that happens to own E-Z-GO. E-Z-GO sells golf carts. The company reported revenues were up 2.6% YOY to $3.6 billion in Q2 ‘17. Revenue growth was attributed to the company’s May acquisition of Arctic Cat.

Howie Long-Short: The NASCAR Cup Series playoffs started this past Sunday with a race at the Chicagoland Speedway. Harvick currently sits in 3rd place in the standings, 35 points behind the leader (Martin Treux Jr.) The next race is Sunday 9/24 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

GANASSI RACING SIGNS SPONSORSHIP DEAL WITH FIRST DATA; FIRST DATA PUTTING MARKETING DOLLARS IN TO NASCAR

Chip Ganassi Racing has announced a sponsorship deal with First Data (FDC) that will make the credit card processor the primary sponsor on Kyle Larson’s #42 car, for two races during this season’s Monster Energy (MNST) NASCAR Cup Series. Ganassi has been working to find a permanent replacement for current sponsor Target (TGT), whose contract expires at the end of the season, and is hopeful the partnership with First Data will grow in 2018. First Data has been making a big push in to the NASCAR space, targeting small business decision makers that comprise part of the sports’ overall fan base. The company recently signed a deal with International Speedway Corporation’s (ISCA) Martinsville Speedway, to act as the title sponsor of the playoff race in October (First Data 500) and will serve as the credit card processor at 2 additional races this year (Phoenix & Miami).

First Data Signs On With Chip Ganassi Racing, Will Sponsor Races For Kyle Larson

Howie Long-Short: The firm’s Global Financial Solutions division (retail & credit processing) recently reported it is up 12% YOY. With Clover helping to drive merchant on boarding, the future looks bright for First Data.

Fan Marino: First Data has been active in the sports sponsorship space of late, signing a 10-year deal with the Mets and purchasing the naming rights to their spring training facility in Port St. Lucie (First Data Field).