Champions League: Uefa signs Nissan as new sponsor

Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United scores against Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter final Nissan will be a Champions League partner until 2018

Japanese carmaker Nissan has signed up to become a sponsor of the Uefa Champions League, Europe's top club football competition.

The value of the four-year deal has not been revealed, but current sponsor packages are reported to be worth more than £45m($74.6m;54.5m euros) a season.

Nissan replaces Ford, which in March said it would cut its 22-year partnership with the event.

Other current sponsors are Mastercard, Unicredit, Heineken, Gazprom, and Sony.

Nissan is Japan's second-biggest carmaker, and backing the Champions League will help raise its profile in Europe, where it recently said that conditions were "sluggish".

The agreement is its largest ever sponsorship deal and will establish Nissan as an official partner worldwide from season 2014-15 up to and including the 2017-18 season.

'Global platform'

Nissan will have extensive rights and branding around Champions League matches, including the final, pre-match training sessions, and other media and hospitality benefits.

"Europe's most prestigious football competition will be an important global platform for Nissan, and our aim is to show fans all over the world the excitement of both football and our cars," said Roel de Vries, Nissan's global head of marketing.

He said the Champions League reached more than four billion TV viewers a season, and the deal would bring Nissan to new audiences "and keep the brand at the fore over the course of the European football calendar".

Nissan has introduced several new models, including the Teana Nissan hopes the Uefa deal will grow sales in Europe

This year's Champions League competition is currently at the quarter-final stage, with the final being played in Lisbon, on Saturday, 25 May.

As part of the deal Nissan will also be a sponsor of the Uefa Super Cup, played each year between the winners of the Champions League and Europa League.

It means that its first partnership event will be as part of the 2014 Super Cup, which is being played at Cardiff on 12 August.

Other Nissan sports sponsorships include the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Olympic Teams GB and Mexico, and the African Cup of Nations.

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