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Fortuna credits in-house strategy for Volkswagen car and dealership deal

(Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

German Bundesliga club Fortuna Düsseldorf – relegated from the top division last month – has signed a sponsorship deal with carmaker Volkswagen and a regional car dealership.

The two-year deal, from 2020-21 to 2021-22, will see VW and the Moll Group dealership become the club’s official automotive partner.

The new sponsorship will provide around 40 VW vehicles for the club office and the youth performance centre. The deal also includes digital sponsorship activation and implementation rights as primary assets, with a special focus on e-mobility.

The Moll Group replaces the Arndt car dealership as an automobile sponsor of the club.

Fortuna decided to take its sponsorship rights in-house from the 2020-21 season onwards when the club opted not to extend its agency deal with Infront as the marketer of its sponsorship, stadium advertising and hospitality rights.

Infront Germany, the agency’s German arm, marketed Fortuna’s commercial rights for 11 years, from 2009-10 until the end of the 2019-20 season.

The club made the bold prediction at January’s Spobis sports industry event in Düsseldorf that it would double its commercial income in the next four years via its in-house team – an ambition now made more difficult by the club’s relegation to the 2. Bundesliga after two seasons in the top tier (and the Covid-19 impact on the sponsorship market).

Christian Koke, head of marketing at the club, said the new deal could be attributed to the change of strategy.

He said: “With our new concept of self-marketing, we were able to respond comprehensively to the needs of the partner.

“This resulted in a partnership in talks which, in addition to the vehicles, includes an unprecedented digital focus.”

Frank Faber, managing director of the Düsseldorf-based Moll Group, said the agreement was another piece in the mosaic of Volkswagen’s football strategy.

He said: “Volkswagen supports numerous clubs and associations worldwide, from Uefa to the national teams of the DFB to countless professional and amateur clubs. As a dealer, it is important to us that we are present on site where we and our customers are at home.”

Fortuna made less than €10m ($11.4m) from sponsorships in 2019-20, according to SportBusiness Soccer.

In December, the club’s main shirt sponsorship with chemical and consumer goods company Henkel – worth about €3m per year in 2019-20 – was extended for one more year to the end of the 2020-21 season.

German sportswear firm Uhlsport is the club’s kit supplier in a deal thought to be worth €450,000 per year in the 2. Bundesliga and up to €1m per year in the 1. Bundesliga.


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