While The Cola-Cola Co. and PepsiCo, Inc. have recently scaled back on two high-profile deals, sponsorship activity in the energy drink category is expected to maintain its forward momentum over the foreseeable future.  

The Coca-Cola Co. this month announced it will replace Full Throttle with Mello Yello as title of the NHRA Drag Racing Series starting with the 2013 season, while PepsiCo has scaled back AMP’s partnership with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team in favor of the Diet Mountain Dew brand.   

While those two companies have thrown a wet blanket on the category, new product rollouts and double-digit growth are expected to fuel additional sponsorship activity. Sales in the energy drink category grew 18.1 percent in the year-ended Aug. 12, according to SymphonyIRIGroup, a market research group.

And the category is expected to maintain strong sales momentum over the next several years. Research firm Mintel expects sales of energy drinks and shots to total $15.6 billion in 2016, up 66 percent from $9.4 billion in 2012.

As in the past, three players continue to dominate the energy drink category: Red Bull (40.3 percent market share), Monster (35.6 percent) and Rockstar (10.9 percent). Those companies all posted solid sales growth in the most recent period: Red Bull grew 19.8 percent; Monster rose 27 percent while Rockstar notched an 11.3 percent increase in sales, according to SymphonyIRIGroup data.

On the other end of the spectrum, sales at the three major U.S. beverage companies went south. PepsiCo (AMP) saw a 1.52 percent decline in sales, The Coca-Cola Co. (Full Throttle and NOS) slipped 5 percent, while Dr Pepper Snapple Group (Venom Energy) fell 12 percent.

Energy drinks largely use sponsorship to accomplish two primary objectives: Support their performance and lifestyle-based positioning and gain platforms for in-store promotions. A third objective: on-site sales.

While sales in the category are expected to continue their upward trend, the industry does face some potential headwinds. Those include a maturing customer base and growing government scrutiny over the caffeine-laden products. 


AMP Energy
Pepsi-Cola North America Beverages
700 Anderson Hill Rd.
Purchase, NY 10577

Bill Wyman, senior director, AMP Energy

Sponsorship/Activation Strategy: PepsiCo has pulled back on sponsorship activity following the February 2012 relaunch of the AMP brand and the launch of new products aimed at older consumers. For example, the beverage giant this year downsized its partnership with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No 88 Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team in favor of Diet Mountain Dew. AMP will title the car at five races in 2012 and will cosponsor the vehicle for the remainder of the season. PepsiCo activates the tie with account-specific promotions at 7-Eleven, Inc. For example, the two companies earlier this year ran the “Get Dale Jr.’s Inside Track” promo that dangled a Dale Jr. Chevy Camaro and other prizes; the on-line and in-store promotion generated a 138 percent increase in AMP volume.

Current Deals: Co-title: Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team.

Additional Comments: In addition to Dale Jr., AMP has endorsement deals with five athletes: Urijah Faber (mixed martial arts) and Scotty Lago, Kevin Pearce and Jack and Luke Mitrani (snowboarding). Pepsi owns 4.4 percent share of the energy drink market. 


Monster Energy
Monster Beverage Corp.
550 Monica Circle, Ste. 201
Corona, CA 92880

Bruce Stjernstrom, vice president of sports marketing

Sponsorship/Activation Strategy: The country’s second-largest energy drink company uses sponsorship to support its “unleash the beast” positioning and build credibility through a portfolio that ranges from action sports to music and motorsports. Frequently activates ties with the Monster Energy awards. Has endorsement deals with more than 100 athletes, bands and personalities including Rob Dyrdek, Snoop Dogg and Rick Thorne. Monster frequently uses sponsorship to promote brand extensions. For example, the company hosted the Java Monster lounge at Style360 fashion event during New York Fashion Week.

Current Deals: Title: Kyle Busch Motorsports NASCAR Nationwide Series team; Monster Energy Aftershock, Sacramento, Calif.; Monster Energy AMA Supercross; Monster Energy Outbreak Tour; Monster Energy Ricky Carmichael Daytona Amateur Supercross. Presenting: Street League DC Pro Tour. Cosponsor: Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Ala.; Boost Mobile Rock the Bells festival series; Carnival Miami; Fiesta Atlanta; Joe Gibbs Racing; Rock on the Range, Columbus, Ohio; South by Southwest Music & Film Festivals; The Unshakeable Tour (For Today, etc.); Vans Warped Tour.

Additional Comments: Monster this year inked a new partnership with online gaming platform www.OneMoreGame.TV and extended title of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series through 2016. Monster owns 35.6 percent of the energy drink market.


NOS Energy Drink
Full Throttle
The Coca-Cola Co.
1 Coca-Cola Plaza
Atlanta, GA 30313

Sharon Byers, senior vice president of sports and entertainment marketing partnerships

Sponsorship/Activation Strategy: The Coca-Cola Co. markets two energy drinks: Full Throttle and NOS Energy Drink. NOS largely focuses on two types of properties: gaming and motorsports (NASCAR and drifting). NOS last year inked a multiyear partnership with Major League Gaming; the tie affords title of the MLG Performance Center. NOS in 2012 inked a partnership with Roush Fenway Racing NASCAR Nationwide Series team and driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.; the brand activates the tie by offering co-branded merchandise and memorabilia through the NOS Rewards Series, an under-the-tab loyalty program. The Coca-Cola Co. next year will replace Full Throttle with Mello Yello as title of the NHRA Drag Racing Series; Full Throttle remains the official energy drink of the motorsports series.

Current Deals: NOS Energy Drink: Title: Roush Fenway Racing NASCAR Nationwide Series team. Cosponsor: Formula Drift; Sebring International Raceway; Sonoma Raceway; Major League Gaming. Full Throttle: NHL Detroit Red Wings; NHRA; Wet ‘n Wild Emerald Pointe water park, Greensboro, N.C.

Additional Comments: NOS sponsors Virgin Gaming, an online gaming platform. Red Wings sponsorship affords exclusivity in the energy drink, isotonic and bottled water categories. Supplements Formula Drift with endorsement deal with driver Chris Forsberg. The Coca-Cola Co. owns 1.8 percent of the energy drink market.


Red Bull
Red Bull North America, Inc.
1740 Stewart St.
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Amy Taylor, vice president of marketing

Sponsorship/Activation Strategy: With a 19.8 percent increase in sales and 40.3 percent market share, Red Bull is the undisputed leader in the energy drink category. As it has in the past, Red Bull focuses on proprietary events ranging from the Red Bull Air Race World Championship to Red Bull Flugtag. The company also owns a number of properties ranging from the MLS New York Red Bulls to the Red Bull Racing Formula One team; the company dropped ownership of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team following the 2011 season. Red Bull largely uses sponsorship to support niche events and athletes, around which it looks to generate media exposure and build credibility. Frequently sponsors third-party events to support proprietary programs. For example, Red Bull sponsors Lollapalooza and Voodoo Music Experience on behalf of Red Bull Soundstage, a platform that supports emerging music. Red Bull this year is activating Voodoo with a national battle-of-the-bands type promotion that dangles the opportunity to play at the festival. Red Bull also has leveraged the Voodoo Music Experience to gain content for Red Bull Music Academy Radio. 

Current Deals: Title: Red Bull Budds Creek National, Mechanicsville, Md.; Red Bull Indianapolis GP; Red Bull RedBud National. Cosponsor: Alpine Meadows, Tahoe City, Calif.; Amphitheater at the Wharf, Orange Beach, Ala.; Best Buy Theater, New York City; California Mid-State Fair; Camp Woodward; Canyons, Park City, Utah; Cinequest Film Festival, San Jose, Calif.; Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival; French Quarter Festival presented by Capital One Bank; GNC Pittsburgh Triathlon & Adventure Race; Las Vegas Motor Speedway; Lollapalooza; Major League Soccer; Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca; MLB Los Angeles Dodgers; NBA Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers;  Nike US Open of Surfing; Pygmalion Music Festival, Urban, Ill.; Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort, Twin Bridges, Calif.; Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Voodoo Music Experience, New Orleans.

Additional comments: Offers action sports content through the Red Bull Signature Series multimedia video platform.


Rockstar Energy Drink
Rockstar, Inc.
P.O. Box 27740
Las Vegas, NV 89126

Michael Kelso, marketing director

Sponsorship/Activation Strategy: The category’s third-largest player focuses on action sports, music and motorsports to sample product and support its "world’s most powerful energy drink” positioning. The brand frequently looks for title status to gain dominate positioning. Activates PBR Built Ford Tough Series with sponsorship of 90-point rides and regional in-store promotions that dangle two-for-one tickets and other special offers with product purchase. Rockstar this year inked a partnership with the Comcast Bite of Seattle on behalf of a regional distributor. 

Current Deals: Title: Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival; Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival. Presenting: Deadmeat tour (Steve Aoki, etc.); Kaskade Freaks of Nature Tour; Collide with the Sky Tour (Pierce the Veil, etc.); Infamous Tour (Motionless in White, etc.)  Cosponsor: Comcast Bite of Seattle; Firebird International Raceway, Chandler, Ariz.; Identity Festival presented by iHome; Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series; MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour; PBR Built Ford Tough Series; Seafair, Seattle; Summerfest; Operation Gratitude.

Additional Comments: MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour includes event entitlement. Rockstar has endorsements deals with a number of athletes including Cam McCaul (Mountain Bike); Corey Lopez (surfing) and Jackson Strong (FMX), Accepts proposals at www.rockstarenergy.com/eventSponsorship.php.

The Top Ten Players In The Energy Drink Category 
Company Dollar Sales Year-over-Year Dollar Sales Growth Dollar Share
Red Bull North America, Inc. $2.91 billion 19.81% 40.3%
Monster Energy $2.57 billion 27.01% 35.6%
Rockstar International $793 million 11.39% 10.97%
Pepsico Inc. $323 million (1.52%) 4.47%
High Performance Beverage $246 million 10.86% 3.40%
Coca-Cola Co. $135 million (5.09%) 1.88%
Xyience Xtreme Science $42 million 23.27% 0.58%
Dr Pepper/Snapple Group $36 million (12.03) 0.50%
National Beverages Corp. $18.4 million 9.20% 0.26%
Vital Pharmaceuticals $18.3 million 12.83% 0.25%
Source: Total U.S. sales in supermarkets, drugstores, gasoline/convenience stores and mass merchant (excluding Walmart) outlets in the 52 weeks ending Aug. 12, per SymphonyIRIGroup.