Of all of the issues that NASCAR faces — anthem controversy, low TV ratings, teams in turmoil — there is one that may be the most pressing and challenging of all:
It’s sponsorship with Monster Energy.
The company was supposed to inform NASCAR whether it would pick up a two-year option to stay as the sport’s primary sponsor. Monster, according to the Sports Business Journal, has asked for a extension to decide whether it will pick up its reported $20 million per year option.
Stern, in a serious of tweets, also said it’s likely a decision won’t be made until into 2018. Additionally, Monster has to decide whether to continue its commitments to two other teams.
Stern has estimated that between those three deals, Monster spends upwards to $50 million annually.
That’s a whole lot of scratch. And that’s why this should be the biggest issue NASCAR faces — and fixes.