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Richmond set for big pay day from Jeep

By David Bonnici, 26 Sep 2019 Car News

Richmond Dustin Martin grand final

Jeep and Kia will be big winners from the 2019 AFL Grand Final, whoever wins

Jeep Australia could be up to half-a-million dollars poorer on Sunday if Richmond wins the AFL Grand Final.

The American SUV brand has been the Richmond Tigers' major sponsor since 2011, and after seeing the club through its rebuilding period is enjoying having its Helvetica Bold moniker front and centre in its recent success that includes the 2017 AFL Premiership.

WhichCar understands that a clause in the sponsorship deal includes a huge bonus for reaching the Grand Final, plus an additional payment should the Tigers hold the premiership cup aloft. In short, a Richmond flag will cost Jeep up to $300,000 - and that's on top of the estimated $1.5 million annual sponsorship fee. 

The deal, which also applied in 2017, is similar to one Hawthorn had with the Tasmanian Government, which saw it receive $150,000 to reach the Grand Final and another $150,000 for winning it.

Colourful past: The AFL's amazing automotive moments

Such deals aren’t so much about rewarding performance, but for the additional exposure the brand receives as major sponsor for the team well beyond the regular season. 

Either way, it will be a six-figure sum that Jeep will be happy to pay, as it provides extended access to one of the largest footy fan bases in the AFL. 

Greater Western Sydney has a while to go before its membership numbers can rival Richmond's, but if the AFL's newest team ends up saluting the MCG crowd on Saturday there will be big smiles at Kia Australia’s Sydney head office.

GWS Kia logoA Tim Taranto goal during last week's Preliminary Final results in some decent exposure for Kia. Pic: Getty Images

The Korean carmaker has a strong involvement with sport in Australia, most famously as naming sponsor of the Australian Open tennis, with Roy Morgan research showing that 3.5 million Australians associate the brand with the Grand Slam tournament.

However, its first major foray into AFL sponsorship proved disastrous, with its association with Essendon coinciding with the club’s 2013/14 implosion over the performance supplements saga.

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Kia hasn’t had too much luck with Rugby League either, being the major sponsor of the Canterbury Bulldogs which last year delivered the wrong kind of exposure when players were filmed and later charged for their obscene behaviour during post-season Mad Monday celebrations.

Kia’s mid-level 'shorts sponsorship' of GWS is a bit more modest, but for once it’s aligned with a footy team that - Toby Greene’s fascination with faces aside - has barely put a foot wrong this season and is just one game away from holding up the Premiership Cup in just its eighth year of existence.

A Kia Australia spokesman told WhichCar the company has played a small role in GWS’s success but that it is very pleasing to see.

Cars and football sponsorship

The motoring industry has long been a keen supporter of the AFL/VFL. Toyota has been the League's major sponsor since 2004 and at the beginning of this year inked a record $74 million four-year contract that for the first time will include the AFLW (women's competition).

Toyota AFL Wayne Gabriel, Gillon McLachlan, Toyota Supra
Toyota Chief Marketing Officer Wayne Gabriel and AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan. Pic: Getty Images

AFL supporters span all social demographics across each state, which makes the sport fertile ground for car manufacturers. A 2014 survey showed that on average, around 13 percent of football club members intended to buy a new car in the next four years.

Which is why Toyota is happy to dish out $18.5 million per year and why other brands feature on team jumpers.

Incredibly, Ford recognised football’s marketing potential as early as 1925, when it started building Model Ts in Geelong and decided to sponsor the local footy team. The Blue Oval has been a fixture at the Geelong Football Club ever since, and will be at least until the end of 2020 taking the partnership to a world-record-breaking 96 consecutive seasons.

Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood
Geelong stars Joel Selwood and Patrick Dangerfield. Pic: Getty Images

The Adelaide Crows have enjoyed Toyota sponsorship since joining the AFL in 1991 and for a time a marketing campaign saw the side called the Camry Crows. This season was the 21st year that North Melbourne jumpers featured the Mazda logo.

Other car companies involved as major or key sponsors with AFL clubs during the 2019 season include:

WhichCar contacted Jeep Australia for comment.