American Pharoah and jockey Victor Espinoza dominated at Belmont, wrapping up the first Triple Crown victory in 37 years, but it was a sponsor that also felt like a winner. Monster Energy Drink was all over the NBC broadcast, from hats on the owners, cans in the background and Espinoza even mentioning the product immediately after winning the race. Espinoza let us know that the sugary mixture of taurine and caffeine is really what made him feel great before the race.
Monster’s branding was almost omnipresent after the race. A simple Google image search shows that it was everywhere in the winner’s circle. It was tough to tell whether American Pharoah’s owners and team were amped up from the historical win, or from too much consumption of the energy drink.
Monster gambled on American Pharoah and won big. Whatever sponsorship dollars they tossed the Zayat’s family way was worth it. From the moment Espinoza won until cutting away to the Stanley Cup broadcast, Monster was all over the television screen. The energy drink company is second to Red Bull in its space, and is now associated with a historical horse and the Triple Crown.
It will be interesting to see how much brand exposure Monster received (unofficially) in terms of dollars and cents. The exposure won’t include the benefits of brand association with the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years. Whatever Monster paid for its sponsorship, it was a bargain.
Michael Colangelo is Assistant Director at the USC Sports Business Institute and Senior Editor of The Fields of Green.