Car manufacturers are getting more serious about football. After Chevrolet’s grand entry with Manchester United, Nissan has replaced Ford as Champions League sponsor and inked a deal with Manchester City. But what does that mean for the car manufacturer?
Back in April 2014, Nissan confirmed a new four-year deal with UEFA to become a global sponsor of the Champions League, taking over Ford’s role as the Official Car Partner of Europe’s elite club football competition from the start of the 2014/15 season.
Recently, Nissan also signed a sponsorship deal with Manchester City. According to The Globe and Mail, the marketing deal, announced Thursday at Nissan’s world headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, is for five years and is reportedly worth £20 million, although financial terms were not released.
A five-year deal which grants Nissan significant brand presence at the Etihad Stadium and on City’s digital platforms. Nissan electric vehicles will also be used when the eagerly awaited City academy campus opens up later in 2014.
It will feature players and branding from English champions Manchester City, Japanese club Yokohama Marinos, the newly created US team New York City FC and the Australian team Melbourne Heart recently bought by the City Football Group.
Nissan is joining the Manchester City Global strategy bandwagon. With a club in Europe, North America, Australia and South East Asia, the Japanese car manufacturer is planning to massively tap into these markets. Nissan does not partner with Manchester City but with Manchester City’s global football network.
Andy Palmer, chief planning officer at Nissan, says the sponsorship campaign will be led centrally from its global team to improve marketing consistency. Campaigns will be more focused on promoting the “innovation and excitement” of Nissan rather than specific cars, although this could change as the strategy matures.
The car manufacturer expects the mix of City’s teams and Champions League to avoid alienating fans in the same way it would have done had it opted to back several high profile clubs.
Palmer adds: “Our philosophy has normally been to sponsor leagues or cups rather than teams because when you get into teams you normally get into [fan] allegiances usually. With the City Football Network of teams it’s almost like we’re sponsoring a league.
“We have the advantage of being able to work with blooming players that will move around the clubs. It’s like our GT academy [drivers] having a seat in a GT car and then eventually working their way up to Formula One. If Formula One is akin to the Manchester City first team, then there’s an opportunity to tell great stories around how players develop their skills and play for different teams in the network.”