Audi is taking soccer to New York’s Kings County for the month with a giant scoreboard that uses the headlights of 28 A8 sedans as illumination. The 40-foot-tall sign comprises 45 shipping containers with A8 sedans parked in 28 of them, headlights facing the East River. The containers arranged matrix-wise in such a way that headlamps can write scores, LED style.
The company said soccer match scores, including this week's USA-versus-Ghana win, will be posted during the four-week duration of the installation through July 14. The scoreboard is the first installation in a season-long commitment by Audi. Next month the automaker is running its own match in the U.S., the Audi Football Summit. The July 31 game pits FC Bayern Munich (of which Audi corporate is a sponsor part owner, and whose players drive Audi cars) against Club Deportivo Guadalajara at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey.
Parent Volkswagen, which has a long history with soccer in the U.S. is the "official automotive partner" of Major League Soccer here. The company is also corporate sponsor of the Volkswagen Arena in its hometown Wolfsburg, Germany, where it is owner of VfL Wolfsburg football club. The automaker is also title sponsor of the Volkswagen Junior Masters Soccer program for 2014. And back in 2008 VW inked a five-year deal with D.C. United, near its U.S. headquarters in Herndon, Va. A major part of that association put VW's logo on team jerseys. But that component ended last year; the automaker still has a limited relationship with the team.
Many auto brands have some kind of footprint in soccer in the U.S. and/or globally. Toyota, Kia, Hyundai, Chevrolet, Audi, and Volkswagen are all involved to some degree. A couple of years back Kia and Hyundai, which are marketing heavily globally and in the U.S. against the World Cup and are the Official Partners in the auto category, made sponsorship partnerships with top European players to boost consideration and awareness in Europe. Toyota is title sponsor of the FIFA Club World Cup, which was held in Morocco last December (The FIFA World Cup. happening now, comprises national teams, not clubs.)
Chevrolet is the official vehicle of U.S. Soccer, the governing body of the sport in the U.S, which has some 20 top-tier corporate sponsors, including Budweiser, Marriott, McDonald's, Allstate and Gatorade. The organization says that about 20 million Americans watched the Round of 16 match at the 2010 FIFA World Cup on television. Mercedes-Benz had a major marketing program against the 2010 World Cup tied to the German National team to reach younger prospects in Europe with TV advertising and incentives.