Hyundai Motor Co. said Monday it has signed a four-year deal to replace General Motors Co. as an official automotive sponsor of the National Football League.
“We are huge football fans at Hyundai and feel there is no better venue to reach consumers, increase consideration and tell the Hyundai brand story,” said Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America. “We can’t wait to show the NFL’s 188 million fans the great design, advanced technologies, dynamic performance and numerous safety features within the Hyundai lineup. The NFL and Hyundai also share a commitment to helping the communities where we do business, another important aspect of our sponsorship.”
GM skipped advertising in the Super Bowl but aired an ad just before the game began. The company ended its NFL sponsorship deal in January that it had since 2001. Bloomberg News and other outlets reported GM was paying about $25 million a year for the deal.
GM’s Chevrolet brand sponsored the Super Bowl MVP, while GM’s performance brand GMC was the main automotive sponsor. GM’s GMC brand will still have a presence on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.”
“GMC has decided not to renew its National Football League sponsorship. We value our relationship with the NFL and its fans, but have decided to focus our sponsorship resources in other areas in the future,” GM said in a statement.
ESPN reported that Hyundai is paying $50 million a year — and only for the car sponsorship. Hyundai confirmed that the NFL can still award a truck sponsorship, but not for a competing product.
Hyundai spokesman Chris Hosford didn’t confirm or deny the ESPN report.
“Neither the NFL or Hyundai has provided a figure for the sponsorship and any specific amount is speculation. Hyundai does not disclose the spend of its marketing programs, but we can say it’s one of the biggest partnerships we’ve done in the United States,” Hosford said.
Among the titles Hyundai receives are official car, SUV and luxury vehicle of the NFL.
Hyundai spokesman Jim Trainor said the automaker “has mainstream and luxury automotive category exclusivity. There may be another automotive truck sponsor but not one that competes with Hyundai’s vehicle lineup.”
Karl Brauer, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com, noted that Hyundai sales haven’t risen as fast as competitors in recent years. “Hyundai’s position in the U.S. hasn’t kept pace with the market’s recovery over the past few years, making a deal like this more appealing to the Korean automaker,” he said. “Hyundai’s NFL sponsorship will certainly boost the brand’s visibility while potentially leading to higher sales and greater market share. Of course, spending this much on a sponsorship deal always raises the cost-benefit question, and we won’t have an answer for at least a few years.”
As part of the new sponsorship, Hyundai will have use of NFL trademarks across various marketing channels, including branded content, advertising and promotional materials. Hyundai will also provide promotional vehicles at the Super Bowl and other events throughout the year.
“We are pleased to welcome Hyundai to our family of sponsors,” said Renie Anderson, the NFL’s senior vice president of sponsorship. “We appreciate Hyundai’s enthusiasm as we work together to reach our fans with innovative programs during our season and with our major calendar events throughout the year.”
Hyundai will launch its activation with a major presence during NFL Kickoff activities on Sept. 10.
Kia Motors—owned by the same Korean conglomerate that owns Hyundai — is the official automotive sponsor of the NBA, while GM’s Chevrolet brand remains the Major League Baseball sponsor. Honda Motor Co. is the official National Hockey League sponsor.