South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai is expected to replace General Motors as the car sponsor for the Euro 2000 football championships being held in the Netherlands and Belgium.
The car manufacturer is understood to have paid &£7m to become the championship’s eighth official sponsor.
The cost of sponsoring the last tournament, Euro 96 in England, was &£3.5m. This price hike led a number of multinational companies to pull out. Mars, like General Motors, has not signed up for a major football commitments for the first time in years.
A Hyundai spokesman says: “Hyundai is constantly looking at new ways of increasing its brand profile. Football is high on the agenda. The company is keen to improve its brand image in Europe.”
In May, the car company signed a three-year deal with football’s world governing body Fifa to sponsor the World Cup held between South Korea and Japan in 2002. This deal is thought to be worth &£25m, and includes 13 other minor women’s and youth international competitions.
As part of the Euro 2000 deal, Hyundai will receive two pitch-side advertising hoardings around the eight grounds in which the event is being staged, and the right to use the championships name and logo in its advertising, and corporate hospitality packages.
Euro 2000’s seven other official sponsors are Philips, Carlsberg, Coca-Cola, MasterCard, Fujifilm, JVC and McDonald’s.
Sports agents ISL, which sells the packages on behalf of Fifa, hopes to sell between ten and 12 packages in advance of the summer championships.