Ford ends Champions League sponsorship after 20 years

Ford is ending its sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League after more than two decades and will use the millions saved to invest in new product launches in Europe.

Ford will use the millions saved from not sponsoring the Champions League to support product launches across Europe.

The US automaker’s partnership with European football governing body UEFA will end with the final in Lisbon in May. Ford will use the match to kick off a long-term marketing push to increase its share of the pan-European market.

A TV ad will run during the match, which is expected to be viewed by more than 300 million people in more than 200 countries, to promote the Mustang brand. The new car will go on sale across Europe for the first time in the Mustang brand’s 50-year history.

Heineken is reportedly paying £43.6m a season for its deal with UEFA and Ford’s departure from the event will likely free up a similar amount to support its renewed push for the European market. Ford is hoping to bounce back after suffering declining demand across the region in recent years following the fallout from the financial crisis.

Stephen Odell, president of Ford Europe, Middle East and Africa, says: “With the arrival of the Ford Mustang in Europe, we are finishing our long-standing sponsorship of the Champions League on a high note.

“While both Ford and UEFA have benefited from our partnership, now is the right time for Ford to move in a new direction as we accelerate new product launches in Europe, with more than 25 new vehicles coming over the next five years.”

Ford and UEFA’s tie-up dates back to the 1992/93 season when the former used the tournament as a way to launch updates to its Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo ranges in European markets such as the UK, Germany and Spain.  

Fellow Champions League sponsor Heineken extended its deal until 2018 last year claiming at the time it wants to be the “only beer brand” associated with the tournament.