German financial institution DWS Investments has become the shirt sponsor for Premiership football club Aston Villa, as the company prepares for a retail expansion in the UK.
DWS, which is owned by Deutsche Bank, has signed a one-year deal understood to be worth about £2m. The company replaces local car manufacturer MG Rover, which has scaled back its decade-long association with the club (MW December 11, 2003).
MG Rover cut its marketing budget in June last year following the resignation of marketing director John Sanders (MW June 26, 2003).
DWS is the largest mutual-funds group in Europe. Managing director Michael Warren says the deal reflects its commitment to building the retail franchise in the UK, and says it will increase brand awareness for DWS.
Meanwhile, Aston Villa has also renewed its agreement with Danish kit supplier Hummel International for a further three years, which will be worth more than £1m a year to the club.
The deal with DWS follows the recent appointment of marketing director Phil Smith (MW October 23, 2003). Smith has a background in financial services, having previously held the top marketing position at Travelex.
Several other Premiership football clubs are also looking for shirt sponsors, including Middlesbrough and Everton (MW April 15).