In a world where money is king, sponsorship deals are among the top revenue earners for football clubs, and a few car manufacturing companies have gotten in on the action, as they too stand to make huge profits from these partnerships.
A select few of those actually own football clubs or have a stake, but for the most part, car manufacturing companies act as sponsors, either main or secondary partners who supply vehicles, provide transportation and various other perks.
Here is a list of 10 car companies which presently sponsor football clubs around Europe.
#1 Citroen – Arsenal
London side Arsenal and French car manufacturer Citroen have been in partnership since 2008, and the two parties agreed a three-year extension back in 2014.
While not the main sponsor, Citroen have a huge presence at the club. They have a programme in place to deal with marketing, digital, dealer and promotional activities, and provide Arsenal with various car models for their coaches and staff as part of the deal.
The car company also takes care of transporting team equipment across England, and also supporting the club’s community outreach programmes.
At the moment, Arsenal’s main sponsors are Fly Emirates and Puma, with other sponsors include the likes of Gatorade, BT Sport and Coopertires.
#2 Opel – FSV Mainz
The German automobile company, based in Russelheim, has been actively involved in the sponsorship of German clubs since 2012 and has Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and SC Freiburg on their list.
FSV Mainz, also a partner, have named their home stadium the Opel Arena, agreeing the name change earlier this year. The stadium was previously called the Coface Arena because of the club’s sponsorship deal with French credit insurer Coface.
On revealing the new name change, Opel and Mainz announced a further five years which will take their deal up to 2021. Aside from the naming rights, the partnership is inclusive of extensive package of promotional and hospitality services.
#3 Mercedes-Benz – VFB Stuttgart
Mercedes-Benz is one of the premier brands on this list. The global automobile manufacturing company is a division of German company Daimler AG.
Known for their luxurious line of cars, as well as buses, coaches and trucks, Mercedes-Benz are also the main sponsors of German outfit VFB Stuttgart. The club’s stadium is also called the Mercedes-Benz Arena, and it is in close proximity to the car maker’s factory and museum.
Previously known as the Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion, the name change came about in 2008, and the Mercedes-Benz Bank became the club’s leading sponsor in 2012.
The two parties agreed to an extension before the end of last season, despite the club set for relegation from the Bundesliga. They did get knocked out of the German top flight, but their partnership with Mercedes-Benz will run until 2019.
#4 Jeep – Juventus
Jeep have been Juventus’ main sponsor for the past four years. The American SUV company forged a partnership with the Italian side in 2012, replacing Betclic as their official shirt sponsor.
The two parties agreed a six-year extension in August of 2014, which took the initial pay-out of €11.7 million per season to €17 million.
Jeep are owned by the Chrysler Group, who were bought by Fiat in 2009. Both Juventus and Fiat are owned by the Exor group of families and controlled by the family of club president Andrea Agnelli.
Juve also have a $26 million-a-year deal with sportswear brand Nike. They have also been one of Europe’s most successful teams in recent times, and have been dominating the Serie A in Italy for the past five seasons.
#5 Hyundai – Lyon
#6 Volkswagen – VFL Wolfsburg
#7 BMW – Eintracht Frankfurt
The German luxury vehicle manufacturing company replaced Alfa Romeo as Eintracht Frankfurt’s official automotive partner in August.
BMW, German for Bavarian Motor Works, is one of the world’s most recognised car brands and had sponsored the club between 2008 and 2013, before being replaced by Alfa Romeo, the company they in turn replaced.
They have several BMW mini dealerships around Frankfurt and stand to benefit from pitch-side advertising at the Commerzbank Arena, which is the club’s home ground.
The deal was announced ahead of the 2016/17 season ond a one-year contract.
#8 Audi – Bayern Munich
#9 Dacia – Udinese
Dacia, the Romanian automotive company has been in partnership with Italian club Udinese since early 2009.
Dacia are a subsidiary of Renault, a French multinational car manufacturer, and are also Romania’s biggest revenue earners, as well as the country’s top exporter.
Udinese sold their stadium naming rights to the car company in January this year, changing the name of their 25,000-seater Stadio Friuli to the Dacia Arena Friuli.
The club also agreed to an extension earlier this year, which will see the partnership last until 2020.
Other Udinese sponsors include Mediaset Premium, Benpower and Sky Gas & Power.
#10 Chevrolet - Manchester United
Manchester United are sponsored by Chevrolet, a US-based automobile company operating as a division of manufacturer General Motors.
The Red Devils struck a deal with Chevy in 2012, after ending their agreement with previous sponsors AON. The deal is worth £350 million and will be paid out over the course of seven seasons.
Two years ago, the Daily Mail ran a story which claimed that United’s star players had refused to drive vehicles provided by Chevy after the sponsors had handed the club a fleet of 15 vehicles.
The company had hoped to gain some publicity off the likes of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao, but the players drove their own vehicles, leaving training ground staff to make use of the freebies.
United are also sponsored by Adidas, who pay them $107 million every year.