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SBD Global/July 18, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Nissan Motors Signs Five-Year Deal With Man City Owner City Football Group

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Nissan Motors is to become a global sponsor of Man City owner City Football Group in a five-year deal the two companies announced at the Japanese carmaker's headquarters in Yokohama on Thursday. Financial details of the arrangement were not disclosed. CFG CEO Ferran Soriano said the partnership will see "the Nissan brand visible at all of our football clubs, including Manchester City." In May, CFG took a minority stake in Yokohama F Marinos, the J.League team that Nissan founded and retains control of. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn pointed out that it was the first overseas investment in a J.League club, and that Nissan was CFG's first global partner. CFG also owns Man City's women's team, A-League side Melbourne City, and the Major League Soccer expansion team New York City FC, due to launch in '15 in collaboration with the N.Y. Yankees.

ELECTRIC PARTNERSHIP: Soriano said that details of the Nissan branding at the individual clubs would be announced in the coming weeks, but that it would include strategies such as "a focus on electric cars in New York." Nissan electric cars will also be used for transport around Man City's new 80-acre academy, touted as the biggest football facility of its type in the world, Soriano said. Nissan replaced Ford as a sponsor of the UEFA Champions League last year, and is also an official partner of the African Cup of Nations, Ghosn said.

EXPANSION PLANS: Soriano suggested that CFG may pursue further expansion in Asia. "There will never be another CFG club in Europe, because Man City covers the whole region; there will never be another club in America after New York City. But we may have another club in Asia, it's very big geographically," Soriano told SBD Global. Soriano said there were no plans to change Yokohama F Marinos name in the way that Melbourne Heart was rechristened Melbourne City, as CFG was still a minority shareholder. He said that increasing the size of its stake was a possibility in the future. Yokohama F Marinos President Akira Kaetsu also attended the event and said coaches from the club had already been visiting Man City. "The level of facilities, performance assessment methods and use of data at Manchester City made me realize the gap between us and them," Kaetsu said. CFG clubs plan to share a scouting network, training methods and other know-how, Soriano added.
Gavin Blair is a writer in Tokyo.
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