Ford looks to new media as it ends Champions League sponsorship after 21 years

Ford looks to new media as it ends Champions League sponsorship after 21 years

Ford of Europe is citing the coincidence of a significant ramping up in new product and a shift in media focus, for its decision to exit Champions League sponsorship after a 21-year relationship.

The US manufacturer has been with the UEFA competition - which some purports reaches a cumulative audience of more than 4bn people - from the outset but now feels the time has arrived to focus on new ways to promote its message - particularly through social media.

Yesterday (7 April), Nissan announced it would become a Champions League sponsor, in a four-year deal to 2018 and although no financial details are being disclosed, reports indicate official backers pay around GBP45m (US$75m) annually for the rights.

"It was really a sort of coincidence," a Ford of Europe spokesman told just-auto. "We have a lot of new products coming with ten new vehicles.

"It has been a successful relationship for 21 years, but with the new products, it was just felt it was time to look at other alternatives and ways of communicate [ing], particularly in the social and digital area."

As an official partner, Nissan will have rights to matches, pre-match training sessions, content, media, hospitality, events and the final, which next year takes place in Berlin.

"It just seemed like a good time to go out on a high point, rather than just letting it drift," added the Ford of Europe spokesman.

"Mondeo, B-Max, S-Max and the Focus, it has been very successful, but it is now time to do something different."

UEFA is also hailing Nissan's involvement in its lucrative Champions League competition, whose quarter final stage second legs are being played tonight and tomorrow across Europe.

"We are delighted to have Nissan as an official partner of the UEFA Champions League as of next season," said Guy-Laurent Epstein, marketing director of UEFA Events.

"Nissan is a leading global company and one of the largest automotive groups in the world.

"We feel the partnership will provide innovation and excitement across all markets worldwide and we are convinced Nissan can use the platform the UEFA Champions League offers to further build on their current success."

Nissan joins Heineken as the second official partner of the UEFA Champions League for the 2015-2018 period alongside Adidas, which is the official supplier.