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Feyenoord set to part ways with Opel and switch to BMW

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Dutch Eredivisie club Feyenoord is expected to switch its car category sponsor from mid-range car brand Opel to high-end German rival BMW from next season.

According to Dutch media reports, BMW will pay about €4m ($4.3m) per year for the exclusive mobility partner rights.

The Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad said the agreement was the result of discussions between the club and various stakeholders in the luxury car brand, including Breeman, the Rotterdam-based BMW dealership.

The deal will include a significant value-in-kind component. The fleet for players, staff, club and stadium staff and company cars reportedly amounted to about 140 cars under the current deal.

Opel’s association with Feyenoord goes back to 2010 when it signed as the club’s car partner. It upgraded to main shirt sponsor from the 2013-14 season in a four-year deal and extended for another three years as an official partner from the 2017-18 season.

The relationship with the club as shirt sponsor was marked by a sponsorship activation which saw Feyenoord and Opel partner with the Dutch Heart Foundation from November 2014 to increase the number of first-responder CPR volunteers from 85,000 to 170,000.

Awareness of the collaboration contributed to an increase in Opel’s brand preference in The Netherlands, according to the brand’s activation agency Triple Double Sports Double.

More recent activations include ‘The Great Feyenoord DNA Study’ in 2018 which saw Opel engage with fans via an online test to see what ‘makes’ a Feyenoord fan.

The activation aimed to engage fans with a high Opel brand preference, a proportion twice as high among Feyenoord supporters, at about 40 per cent, than the general population, at about 20 per cent.

Unlike Opel, which continues as shirt sleeve sponsor of Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund in a five-year deal from 2017-18 to 2021-22, BMW has no tradition as a major football club sponsor.

Last March, plans were revealed that would have seen BMW replace another German car brand Audi as a main sponsor of Bundesliga club Bayern Munich in a massive €800m deal over ten years. The deal was geared to include the acquisition of Audi’s 8.33-per-cent stake in the club.

In May, however, it was revealed that Audi had fended off the bid and that BMW had ended its interest in the club.