Toyota and Audi replace GM in Yankees deal

Major League Baseball team the New York Yankees have agreed deals with Toyota and Audi to become the team's automotive sponsors, taking over from General Motors Corp, who have suffered during the current economic downturn.

Major League Baseball team the New York Yankees have agreed deals with Toyota and Audi to become the team's automotive sponsors, taking over from General Motors Corp, who have suffered during the current economic downturn. Yankees chief operating officer Lonn Trost has announced that both car manufactures will take over as the club's auto sponsors from the start of the 2009 season. Both deals will include stadium signage at the Yankees' new ballpark when it opens in April this year.

"As our brand continues to grow nationally, and in New York especially, a relationship with the Yankees makes perfect sense," said Scott Keogh, chief marketing officer, Audi of America. "Opening up the Audi Yankees Club was a great opportunity to get Audi front and centre with one of America's greatest franchises and to give Audi fans a terrific place to enjoy the games."

The dual sponsorship deal will begin at the start of the 2009 season when the New York Yankees move to the new Yankee Stadium. The new stadium is due to open in April at an estimated cost of US$1.6 billion. The company logos will be also be seen on the exterior facade of the H&R Block Suite Level, as well as on napkins, brochures and televisions within the space.

GM had sponsored the Yankees for two seasons between 2006 and 2008. "We understand their financial condition," Trost explained. "I think it was a mutual understanding."

General Motors spokesman John McDonald admitted that in light of the current economic conditions, the company is reviewing all of its sponsorship activities as part of a plan to cut its marketing and promotions budget by 20 per cent.