NASCAR isn’t dropping the term “Cup Series” from its top level with the addition of new sponsor Monster Energy.
The sanctioning body announced Monday that the soon-to-be former Sprint Cup Series will be renamed the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. NASCAR and Monster announced in early December that the company would replace Sprint as the Cup title sponsor.
NASCAR also unveiled an updated series logo. The old logo, in use since 1976, is below the new logo.
“Our new NASCAR mark is modern, timeless, and embraces the heritage of our sport,” NASCAR chief marketing officer Jill Gregory said in a statement. “It was important for us to recognize our history and implement a piece of each previous mark in the new design. Our goal was to evolve the sport’s visual identity to make it concise, relevant and functional, while respecting and maintaining the unique qualities of the original mark.”
Perhaps Gregory’s use of “concise” is in reference to the elimination of a vertical rectangle to the left of the word “NASCAR” in the logo. The old logo had six rectangles while the old logo had five. Otherwise we’re not sure what she’s referring to there.
The continued use of “Cup Series” is a bit surprising given the “premier series” push that NASCAR made since the end of the 2016 season. Sports Business Journal reported that NASCAR had pitched companies on sponsorship of its No. 1 series without “Cup” in the name. And the sanctioning body’s sudden introduction of the word “premier” into its common vocabulary gave the report credence.
Yet “Cup Series” is staying, which makes the short push of “premier series” all the more confusing.
The presence of Cup Series in the name also makes shorthand reference to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series a bit tricky. The official name is way too long to use in casual conversation or after a first reference — no one is saying a 10-syllable phrase over and over.
But as we’ve said before “Monster Cup” sounds like something at a fast-food restaurant. Sounding out “MENCS” sounds like “minx.” That’s probably not a good branding idea. And we don’t have to explain how awkward “MEN Cup Series” would be.
So that leaves one logical way to refer to the new Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series: the Cup Series. It’s likely by far the least favorite alternative of Monster’s, given their multi-million dollar investment into the naming rights for the sport, but it’s simple and clean. Just like the new NASCAR logo is supposed to be.
Sprint’s name made the “Sprint Cup Series” sound natural with little adjustment. There’s going to be a lot of adjustment with the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. And perhaps a lot less formal and informal brand exposure for NASCAR’s newest partner.
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