Nissan agrees eight-year sponsorship deal with the International Cricket Council

As far as cricket goes, a new partnership has taken shape – and it’s not just at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium where Pakistan are making England toil.

Nissan Motor on Wednesday signed an eight-year agreement with the International Cricket Council that will see the Japanese car maker sponsor major cricket tournaments including the ICC Cricket World Cup, ICC Champions Trophy and ICC World Twenty20.

The partnership will see Nissan get extensive broadcast and digital rights at all ICC events until 2023.

“We’re excited to be part of the global cricketing family and to be involved in some of the world’s most prestigious and popular tournaments,” said Roel de Vries, the global head of marketing and brand strategy at Nissan.

Mr de Vries however declined to provide a value for the deal, but said “it is a significant investment – double digits in the millions of dollars.”

He said that Nissan has been increasing its marketing budget, a significant part of which is being increasingly allocated to sport.

According to some reports, Nissan has a global marketing budget in the range of US$163 million in 2013. GM was the tope automotive sponsor that year with an outlay of $266m.

The move extends Nissan expanding its sponsorship of global sporting events.

As the official car brand of the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics in Rio, it will provide 4,500 cars to transport journalists and athletes. In April 2014, Nissan signed a four-year as a sponsor of the UEFA Champions League, taking over from rival Ford.

Analysts view this marketing move as significant.

According to Anna-Marie Baisden, head of autos analysis at BMI Research, this is part of their wider push in India, along with their strategy of adding up to 100 dealerships by March 2017 and promoting the more affordable Datsun brand.

“They have picked a sport with a huge audience in the country, so from that perspective it is a big statement of intent.”

Kaushik Madhavan, the regional head of automotive and transportation at Frost & Sullivan, said the collaboration is part of Nissan’s global overall plans of associating themselves with popular sporting events.

“With India having significant viewership for cricket, this can potentially be a very good move to improve its visibility in the Indian market. Nissan in India today suffers from poor visibility and awareness, especially in tier 2 and 3 cities. This collaboration could significantly change it.”

Nissan is looking to push its Datsun brand in India which was introduced in early 2014.

“It hasn’t been a great success story so far. As a brand, Datsun is struggling to increase its sales volumes,” Mr Madhavan added.

According to figures from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, car sales rose 6.2 per cent in the six months from April to September compared with the same period last year. But figures from Frost & Sullivan show sales of Nissan brand cars in September fell 58.5 per cent from a year earlier to 1,297 units, while sales of Datsun model last month rose 29 per cent to 1,318 units from a year earlier.

“Nissan is far behind the likes of Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai in terms of market share and has been underperforming the market for the year-to-date, so to expect a turnaround overnight would be a stretch,” said Ms Baisden.

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Srinivasan Iyer

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