German car brand Audi has overcome BMW to retain its lead partner deal with Bundesliga club Bayern Munich.
The two car brands had been caught up in a bidding war for the rights since before the 2018-19 season, but Audi has triumphed after BMW pulled out of advanced partnership talks, citing trust issues and doubts around value-for-money.
The news came as a shock to the German sports media, as Bayern had already signed an agreement in principle with BMW in late 2018, covering both its football and basketball properties.
As part of a 10-year deal worth €800m ($898m), BMW would have acquired Audi’s 8.33-per-cent stake in the club’s holding company.
The partnership would have been set to launch by 2025, when Audi’s current partnership is due to expire.
According to report from German news site Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS), Audi offered an improved fee of €60m per year to retain the partnership, plus a proposed new contract that guarantees at least €1bn in revenue from over a 12-year period.
A BMW spokesperson told FAS that matching Audi’s improved offer would have been “economically unjustifiable” and “indefensible from a business point of view.”
Audi will remain a lead partner at Bayern alongside technical sponsor adidas, main shirt sponsor T-Mobile and stadium naming rights partner Allianz.
The German automaker, which is headquarter in Ingolstadt, has been a Bayern partner for 18 years, having first signed in 2002.