Farmers Insurance paid over $16M to sponsor Kasey Kahne for 22 races in 2014

Farmers has sponsored Kahne since he joined Hendrick in 2012. Both company and driver are leaving after 2017. (Getty)

Monster Energy isn’t reportedly paying much more to sponsor the entire Cup Series in 2017 than what it cost Farmers Insurance to sponsor Kasey Kahne three seasons ago.

Financial details of Farmers’ sponsorship of Kahne were made public via a lawsuit filed by a consulting group over commissions from the contract. ESPN published those numbers Monday. 

The insurance company was the primary sponsor for Kahne for 22 races in 2012 for $13.5 million, in 2013 for $14.04 million and in 2014 for $16.348 million. It decreased its total to 12 races for the next three years, paying $7.6 million in 2015, $7.8 million in 2016 and $8 million in 2017.

If you want to read more about the details of the suit, click the ESPN link above.

Monster signed on as the title sponsor of the Cup Series for 2017 and 2018 in December. Sports Business Journal then reported the deal was worth approximately $20 million a season. While the existence of that report is far from new — we’ve discussed the numbers here before — the details of Kahne’s sponsorship contract puts that report in a greater context.

Shortly after the report, NASCAR CEO Brian France said the reported $20 million figure was “not accurate.” OK, so perhaps Monster is paying more like $25 million.

But even if the energy drink is paying NASCAR that much for the sponsorship, it’s staggering to step back and think that $25 million to currently sponsor the entire Cup Series would have been less than a full season sponsorship of Kahne’s car in 2014.

Farmers announced its sponsorship of Kahne in the summer of 2011. So the contract was likely signed in the spring of that season. At the time, NASCAR was dealing with sliding television ratings. That sounds familiar.

But the series still averaged nearly 6 million viewers per race in 2010, and Fox averaged nearly 8 million viewers for 11 of its 13 races at the beginning of the 2011 season. That rebound was cause for optimism — as you can see in the rising costs on the Farmers contract.

The rebound, of course, didn’t continue. Seven of the 10 playoff races in 2016 had fewer than four million viewers. That decline is likely a big reason why NASCAR reportedly took far less for the rights to the Cup Series than what previous sponsor Sprint was paying.

But it’s still crazy to think that roughly the cost of a full season sponsorship of a Hendrick Motorsports car not driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson could have netted you the rights to the entire racing series just three years later.

After cutting back its investment, Farmers is not returning to Hendrick Motorsports after the 2017 season. Kahne is leaving Hendrick at the end of the season as well and the team announced Monday that he’ll have a new crew chief for the rest of the season.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!