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Volume 21 No. 1
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Sprint, NASCAR to delay talks on title deal

Sprint and NASCAR won’t begin renewal negotiations until next year for title sponsorship of the sport’s top series.

Though the partners were slated to open negotiations this year around title rights to the Sprint Cup Series, sources said that Sprint and NASCAR officials have agreed to push back the exclusive negotiating window in their current three-year agreement until 2015. 

Sprint’s title sponsorship deal ends after the 2016 season.

Sprint declined to comment. In a statement, NASCAR said, “We are always in close contact with our partners at Sprint, but we don’t discuss the status of conversations we have with them. As our premier series entitlement sponsor, Sprint has been successful using our sport as a platform to enhance its brand and drive their business during its 11 years in the sport.”

The delay in negotiations is favorable for both sides, which are busy tackling other business issues this year.

The Wall Street Journal last week reported that Sprint is in talks with T-Mobile for a potential $32 billion merger that would bring together the second- and third-largest carriers in the U.S.

Meanwhile, NASCAR is in the middle of a search for a new title sponsor of its secondary series. Nationwide Insurance, which has sponsored the series since 2008, is in the final year of its sponsorship agreement, and NASCAR officials have said they want to name a replacement for Nationwide in the third quarter of this year.

“With the time they have left, it’s no surprise that they would take the time to let some things internally settle,” said Greg Busch, a longtime sports marketer and former executive at GMR Marketing. “It’s smart business for both sides.”

Sprint has been title sponsor of NASCAR’s top series since 2004.