Toyota Named NFL's Official Automotive Partner

Toyota and the National Football League have entered into a multiyear sponsorship agreement designating Toyota as the official automotive partner of the NFL.

Terms of the deal are not being disclosed, other than it is "multiyear," says David Christ, group vice president and general manager, Toyota. The deal is being announced on Toyota social media this morning via a 30-second video from AOR Saatchi & Saatchi. 

The position has been open since Hyundai ended its deal with the league after the 2018 season. Ford Trucks vacated its partnership with the league after the 2021 season and General Motors’ GMC truck brand stepped in, serving as the official presenting sponsor of the Fox NFL Sunday pregame show throughout the 2022 football season.

“I think the fact that it's been open for I think two years speaks to the NFL's selectiveness and who they partner with -- and they don't just run out and sell a sponsorship,” Christ tells Marketing Daily. “They really want to find the right partner. And we think there are a lot of reasons why this really brings together the two best brands, one from automotive and one from sports.”



With this agreement, Toyota says it aims to leverage the year-round NFL calendar as a marketing platform to communicate its brand message to football fans across the U.S. 

The NFL is the number one-sports property in the U.S., complete with 205 million passionate fans, says Dedra DeLilli, group manager, sponsorship strategy, integration and auto shows, Toyota North America.

“What makes the partnership really special is our ability to leverage the shield,” DeLilli tells Marketing Daily. “What we've learned is that the power of that shield should not be underestimated, and by adding that shield to our creative, there's bodies of research that show that brand message is significantly higher in terms of how it lands and the perception of that brand message.”

Engaging fans in their environment has never been more critical, according to the automaker. With the ability to activate at official NFL events, Toyota will aim to connect with consumers in an authentic way, enhancing their fan experience and driving Toyota brand loyalty. 

The partnership will extend beyond the stadiums and into football-loving communities across the country, he says. 

The NFL’s commitment to growing and prioritizing multicultural programs is directly aligned with Toyota’s focus on diversity and inclusion, as it seeks to leave no one behind in its goal to provide mobility for all, he adds.

Toyota is no stranger to fans of the NFL. In the 1980s, the “Toyota Halftime Show,” first appeared on ABC’s "Monday Night Football." In 2006, Toyota tackled halftime sponsorship for NBC’s "Sunday Night Football," an engagement that remains in place today. Toyota’s new partnership with the NFL will be enhanced by national broadcast television and online media investments.

“We've had 11 teams that have been sponsored by our local dealer ad associations,” Christ says. “So this partnership really just brings all that together in a great way to enjoy mutual success.”

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