By Barry Janoff
December 10, 2015: Hyundai, which this season signed a four-year deal to become the NFL's official partner in the automotive category, continues to make moves to accelerate the alliance.
The company said it has signed on to become the official partner of the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers, adding to a team roster that also includes the Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans.
Hyundai plans use these alliances, as well as future team partnerships, to "strengthen our footprints in those markets and drive traffic to our dealers."
Financial terms of the deals were not released.
"Hyundai is not only connecting with football fans at a national level, but in the community where fans really show their passion," Trea Reedy, senior group manager, experiential marketing for Hyundai Motor America, said in a statement.
Hyundai, which replaced long-time NFL league partner General Motors in the category this season, has activated behind a multi-level strategy in its rookie season. The platform features TV ads that focus on its NFL and team alliances — "D-Gate" featuring Cardinals fans (pictured below) and "Field Goal" with Texans fans — and a high-profile position as presenting sponsor for NFL Experience, the fan-fest that will activate during Super Bowl 50 this February.
Hyundai is also planning to air two spots during Super Bowl 50 on CBS on Feb. 7 and one during pre-game programming.
Acura and Hyundai sibling Kia are among the other car companies that will have air time during the Super Bowl.
Toyota is the most active automaker on the NFL team landscape, according to research and consulting firm IEG, Chicago, via official alliances with about a third of the league. That includes the Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks and a deal with the San Francisco 49ers that includes naming rights to the Toyota Gate entrance in Levi's Stadium.
Ford has an official category alliance with more than a half-dozen NFL teams, including the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions, who play their home games in Ford Field.
Similar to that, the Tennessee Titans have a pact with Nissan and play in Nissan Stadium, and the New Orleans Saints have an alliance with Mercedes-Benz and play their home games in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The Atlanta Falcons currently have a deal with Ford, but will play in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, currently under construction, beginning in 2017.
“Mercedes-Benz fits all of the criteria we set out in finding a naming rights partner,” Arthur Blank, majority owner of the Falcons, said when the naming-rights deal, which runs through 2042, was unveiled in August. “Their name and reputation fit the iconic image of the building; they are committed to excellence in customer service and experience; their values mesh with those of the Falcons, (MLS) Atlanta United and the rest of our businesses; and they are a company that embraces the communities in which they do business.”
Among other NFL teams, the Green Bay Packers have an official alliance with Chevrolet, and GMC is an official partner to both the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos.
In a related category, CarMax is the official used car partner for the Patriots and the Broncos.
In addition, the Jacksonville Jaguars last month signed with Uber, which enables fans to purchase tickets and get a ride to the team's EverBank Field.
According to Hyundai, support for its new team alliances includes local advertising on TV, radio, print, Internet and social media; signage in each team's respective stadium; co-branded Hyundai merchandise giveaways to Vikings and Steelers fans at games; and fan zone activation and vehicles on display at home games for both teams for the remainder of the season.
Hyundai also gets naming rights to the "Hyundai Club West" in Heinz Field, the Steelers' home venue.
When the Vikings move into their new, currently under construction stadium prior to the 2016 season, Hyundai will be the naming rights sponsor for the "Hyundai Club" in U.S. Bank Stadium.
"Both Minnesota and Pittsburgh have dedicated and loyal fan bases and by partnering with them we are able to strengthen our footprints in those markets and drive traffic to our dealers," said Reedy.
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