Japanese tyre manufacturer Bridgestone has completed a deal to become the new title sponsor of the Copa Libertadores, South America’s top club soccer competition.
The agreement, valid until 2017, will see the South American equivalent of Europe’s Uefa Champions League renamed the Copa Bridgestone Libertadores, with the Japanese firm replacing Spanish banking group Santander as the competition’s title sponsor.
Bridgestone also currently title sponsors the Copa Sudamericana, South America’s secondary international club soccer competition, having renewed its deal in July.
Conmebol, the governing body of soccer in South America, confirmed the Copa Libertadores agreement on Monday. The organisation’s president, Nicolas Leoz, said he was excited by the Bridgestone’s “firm commitment” to South America’s flagship club event.
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He added: “This is a stamp on the career of one of the most recognised symbols in the history of South American football, which represents the dreams of millions of people and has an identity that is of great spiritual and cultural magnitude. I wish to express my gratitude to the authorities of Bridgestone for joining in the journey of this great competition.”
Matías Borges, director of sales and marketing at Bridgestone Latin America, added: “For Bridgestone it is very important to share the passions that move the public. This is why the company has seen in football an activity that can promote confidence and the pride we feel, while also encouraging team participation and cooperation to achieve a common purpose, values that are essential for us.”
The 2012 Copa Libertadores was won by Brazilian side Corinthians, who will represent Conmebol at the upcoming Fifa Club World Cup in Japan, where they will meet the champions from each of the other five continental confederations.