Hyundai Gets NFL Official Auto Title

Hyundai Motor America has signed on as official automotive sponsor of the NFL, the Fountain Valley, Calif. automaker said in a statement. The company, which replaces General Motors in the sponsorship position, will have use of NFL trademarks across various marketing channels, including branded content, advertising and promotional materials. General Motors spent about $25 million per year on the deal to tout its GMC brand.

Hyundai says it will exploit the year-round status of the game, including off-season, extending activity agains the Super Bowl, NFL Combine, NFL Draft, NFL Kickoff and NFL Playoffs. Hyundai will also provide promotional vehicles at the Super Bowl and other events throughout the year.

Dave Zukowski, president and CEO of the Fountain Valley, Calif.-based Hyundai Motor America, tells Marketing Daily that the deal gives Hyundai the whole reach spectrum, from national to local. “Sports has has worked well for us. This gives us the ability to do a lot of things all year.” he says the Super Bowl gives it a big presence on the ground and in broadcast, and it also gets exclusive automotive access to the NFL shield. “It means we have a broad plan, with branded content and promotional materials.”



And, he says, some of the best benefits are those that don’t immediately spring to mind, such as how the sponsorship can power up dealership opportunities locally. “That is one thing we have learned from our NCAA partnership. It’s about engaging dealers and local markets that are football crazy.”

He adds that social media is going to be a big opportunity, particularly bringing its ownership of the NFL shield to tie-ins with fantasy football. “Those numbers are huge; broadly, we have our team and agency working with the NFL to flesh out some of the unique ways to go to market with this that give us the right look and feel, and access to different audiences.” 

The activation kicks off with a major presence during NFL Kickoff activities on Sept. 10, per the automaker, which says the deal gives it a chance to show its products to the NFL's 188 million fans. Hyundai will launch its sponsorship during NFL kickoff activities on Sept. 10. Last year, Hyundai signed on for a fourth year as NCAA college football sponsor tying into the 17 college football programs the automaker sponsors through IMG College.

“The big picture it helps us gain consideration awareness and familiarity. We have grown dramatically over the last five or six years, but the gap still remains between us and key Japanese and domestic competitors,” says Zuchowski. “Next February we are 30 years old in this market, but the Japanese brands are 50 and domestics are 100. This accelerates our opportunity to close that gap.”

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