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Volume 26 No. 50
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Cup Runneth Empty: NASCAR Pitching Companies On Sponsoring "Premier Series"

As NASCAR says it is inching closer to landing a new title sponsor for its Cup Series, sources close to the talks said the organization has been pitching prospects on a deal without the word “Cup” in the new name. In at least some sales pitches, NASCAR has referred to the Cup Series as its “premier series” with no reference to the word “Cup,“ which would represent a notable brand change if it comes to fruition. Whether NASCAR had pitched any companies on a deal that would keep “Cup” included was unclear. NASCAR declined comment when asked about its sales process. NASCAR, which has yet to announce its new partner, has referred to its top series as the “(blank) Cup Series” since ’71, with former partners being Winston, Nextel and Sprint. Sources in recent weeks have said Monster Energy is in advanced talks to replace Sprint, but the status of those talks could not be determined. If Monster landed the deal and “Cup” was dropped from the name, the new series would thus have a name along the lines of the “NASCAR Monster Series.” While the prospective change would avoid any conflict with the Monster Energy Supercross Series’ existing Monster Cup event, sources said the motivation was giving whoever lands the new title sponsor a fresh start. The thought is that by dropping “Cup,” it would ensure the brand name is used more and the series is not simply referred to as “the Cup Series.” NASCAR may be looking to repeat the success of its secondary series, the Xfinity Series, which is frequently referred to as “Xfinity” for short. NASCAR’s Champion’s Week starts later this week in Las Vegas; whether the sanctioning body plans to announce a deal there was unclear as of presstime.