* Nissan to sponsor English champions Manchester City
* Parent City Football Group expanding globally
* Deal follows GM’s $559 million Manchester United sponsorship (Adds comments and information from Nissan and City Football Group CEOs)
By Yoko Kubota
YOKOHAMA, Japan, July 17 (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co is to sponsor City Football Group, whose soccer clubs include English champions Manchester City, as it aims to boost brand exposure in Europe, Asia and the United States through sports deals.
Nissan declined to give financial details for the five-year deal with City Football Group, which is owned by Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour.
The deal gives Nissan brand exposure via City, who have emerged as a force in English soccer in recent seasons, as well as the group’s other clubs - Melbourne City in Australia and the New York City team that will join MLS next year.
“This innovative partnership enhances Nissan’s investment in the game of soccer which is a key platform to further strengthen our brand globally,” said Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn, who presented the deal to reporters at Nissan’s Yokohama headquarters on Thursday.
The partnership comes after General Motors’ $559 million deal to have its Chevrolet brand name on rival Manchester United’s famous red shirts over the next seven years, the biggest such sponsorship agreement in world soccer.
Premier League soccer has a big following around the world and its clubs are attractive to companies wanting to engage potential customers.
City Football Group’s chief executive officer, Ferran Soriano, said Nissan will be providing its electric vehicles to a new football training centre in Manchester to open later this year.
Nissan will also have its brand displayed prominently at the club’s Etihad Stadium in Manchester.
Nissan, Japan’s second-biggest car maker, recently replaced Ford Motor Co as the sponsor of European Champions League soccer in a four-year deal starting next month.
Manchester City have become one of the leading Premier League teams thanks to huge investment from Sheikh Mansour.
The club is expanding commercially, pursuing an innovative strategy of operating a network of teams around the world. As part of that expansion, City Football Group also bought a stake of around 20 percent in Nissan-backed Yokohama F. Marinos in May.
Manchester City won the English Premier League in May, their second league title in the past three seasons. (Additional reporting by Keith Weir in London; Editing by Edmund Klamann and Matt Driskill)