Top-flight English soccer side Arsenal have announced a global partnership with electric vehicle manufacturer BYD Auto.
The deal, which was negotiated during Arsenal’s pre-season tour of Shanghai and Beijing last year, sees the China-based firm become the Premier League outfit’s official car and bus partner.
BYD, which provides single and double-decker buses to Transport for London, will benefit from a from a range of marketing rights including pitchside LED signage and branding on dugout seats at the club’s Emirates Stadium. The company will also have access to Arsenal legends for special promotional events in China.
In addition, the two parties will collaborate to produce a range of unique experiences for BYD’s customers, while they will also create various campaigns to engage with fans on Arsenal’s social media channels. The Gunners said in a release that they have one of the largest followings of any soccer club in China with 4.7 million followers on Weibo, one of the biggest social media platforms in the country.
Arsenal added that the deal makes them the first Premier League club to have a global electric vehicle partnership. The length and financial terms of the contract have not been made public.
“We are proud to become the first Premier League club to enter into a global electric vehicle partnership, and to do so with one of China’s largest and best known companies,” said Vinai Venkatesham, Arsenal’s chief commercial officer. “Electric vehicles are destined to form a big part of our transport future so we’re delighted to welcome the world-leader in this field into our family of official partners.
“This partnership represents another move towards improving our contribution to environmental sustainability, something both ourselves and BYD are passionate about. It’s a progressive step for us and is a direct result of our successful pre-season tour in Shanghai and Beijing.
“Arsenal is one of the most popular football clubs in China and we are looking forward to supporting the ambitious global growth plans of BYD and helping them engage with the millions of supporters we have in China and around the world.”
“Arsenal is a club steeped in history and is one of the most popular football clubs among fans in China,” added Sherry Li, BYD’s brand and public relations director. “This partnership shows that BYD, Arsenal football club and its global fanbase believe in a greener future and the deal will help us build our name here in China and around the world.”
The news comes shortly after Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger revealed that he would be stepping down at the end of this season after 22 years at the helm. The Gunners followed that announcement with a 4-1 thumping of West Ham United on Sunday, and will be looking to carry that form into the first leg of their Uefa Europa League semi-final tie at home to Spanish team Atletico Madrid on Thursday.