Sprint to end title sponsorship of NASCAR's top series after 2016

Sprint to end its sponsorship of NASCAR's top racing series after 2016 season

Sprint Corp. said Tuesday that it will end its title sponsorship of NASCAR's premier series after 2016.

The move was not unexpected because Sprint has been struggling in the wireless phone market against such rivals as Verizon and AT&T.

Sprint in recent months has eliminated more than 2,000 jobs and undergone senior-management changes.

The company cited "a need to focus more directly on its core business priorities" for its decision to end the sponsorship of what is now stock-car racing's Sprint Cup Series.

"We understand significant changes within Sprint and the highly competitive business environment" led to Sprint's move, NASCAR spokesman Brett Jewkes said in a statement.

NASCAR is "very confident of moving forward in 2017 with an outstanding new partner," he said.

The sponsorship began in 2004 when Nextel signed a 10-year deal for what was then the Nextel Cup Series, a deal reportedly valued at $700 million. The name changed to the Sprint Cup Series in 2008 after Nextel and Sprint merged.

Sprint later signed a three-year extension that takes the contract through 2016.

NASCAR's second-level series, currently called the Nationwide Series under sponsorship with Nationwide Insurance, also is getting a new title sponsor starting next year. Internet provider Xfinity, a unit of Comcast Corp., signed a 10-year deal reportedly valued at $200 million in September to replace Nationwide next season. The series will be called the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

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