Sports

Sprint to end sponsorship of NASCAR's top series when contract expires after 2016 season

  • FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2012, file photo, workers paint a logo on the grass near the front stretch during preparation for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race in Concord, N.C. Sprint informed NASCAR it won't extend title sponsorship of the top Sprint Cup Series beyond its current contract, which expires after the 2016 season. "Sprint has long benefitted from the unprecedented level of brand integration available in NASCAR, and the passionate fan base that is the most loyal in sports," Steve Gaffney, vice president of marketing for Sprint, said in a Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, statement.(AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

    FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2012, file photo, workers paint a logo on the grass near the front stretch during preparation for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race in Concord, N.C. Sprint informed NASCAR it won't extend title sponsorship of the top Sprint Cup Series beyond its current contract, which expires after the 2016 season. "Sprint has long benefitted from the unprecedented level of brand integration available in NASCAR, and the passionate fan base that is the most loyal in sports," Steve Gaffney, vice president of marketing for Sprint, said in a Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, statement.(AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Oct. 26, 2014, file photo, Dale Earnhardt Jr. does a burnout as he celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Va. Sprint informed NASCAR it won't extend title sponsorship of the top Sprint Cup Series beyond its current contract, which expires after the 2016 season. "Sprint has long benefitted from the unprecedented level of brand integration available in NASCAR, and the passionate fan base that is the most loyal in sports," Steve Gaffney, vice president of marketing for Sprint, said in a Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, statement. (AP Photo/Don Petersen, File)

    FILE - In this Oct. 26, 2014, file photo, Dale Earnhardt Jr. does a burnout as he celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Va. Sprint informed NASCAR it won't extend title sponsorship of the top Sprint Cup Series beyond its current contract, which expires after the 2016 season. "Sprint has long benefitted from the unprecedented level of brand integration available in NASCAR, and the passionate fan base that is the most loyal in sports," Steve Gaffney, vice president of marketing for Sprint, said in a Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, statement. (AP Photo/Don Petersen, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2014, file photo, Jay Mohr hosts the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto racing awards at Wynn Las Vegas in Las Vegas. Sprint informed NASCAR it won't extend title sponsorship of the top Sprint Cup Series beyond its current contract, which expires after the 2016 season. "Sprint has long benefitted from the unprecedented level of brand integration available in NASCAR, and the passionate fan base that is the most loyal in sports," Steve Gaffney, vice president of marketing for Sprint, said in a Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, statement. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken, File)

    FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2014, file photo, Jay Mohr hosts the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto racing awards at Wynn Las Vegas in Las Vegas. Sprint informed NASCAR it won't extend title sponsorship of the top Sprint Cup Series beyond its current contract, which expires after the 2016 season. "Sprint has long benefitted from the unprecedented level of brand integration available in NASCAR, and the passionate fan base that is the most loyal in sports," Steve Gaffney, vice president of marketing for Sprint, said in a Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, statement. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken, File)  (The Associated Press)

Sprint has informed NASCAR it will not extend title sponsorship of the top Sprint Cup Series beyond its current contract, which expires after the 2016 season.

Sprint has been the entitlement sponsor for NASCAR's top series since 2004, when Nextel signed a 10-year agreement for the Nextel Cup Series. The name changed to the Sprint Cup Series in 2008 following the corporate merger between Nextel and Sprint corporate merger.

Sprint agreed to a three-year extension that took the contract through 2016.

Now, the company is citing "a need to focus more directly on its core business priorities," in ending its relationship with NASCAR.

NASCAR chief communications officer Brett Jewkes says the series understands that significant changes within Sprint led to the decision.