Nissan steps up NCAA partnership with basketball deal

The North American division of Japanese automotive manufacturer Nissan has expanded its partnership with the National Collegiate Athletic Association by becoming an official corporate partner of NCAA men’s basketball and the Final Four event.

Nissan is already a staple of college American football with its Heisman Trophy partnership. The new agreement began yesterday (Sunday), the first day of the NCAA’s academic calendar.

The Ad Age website notes that while Nissan has held a deal with the NCAA since 2011, it had previously been using its Infiniti brand for the sponsorship. The revised agreement will see Nissan take over as the deal enters its final two years.

As an official corporate partner of NCAA men’s basketball, Nissan will have a strong presence on linear television and streaming in the form of commercial inventory, in-game features and vignettes throughout the season.

As Nissan’s basketball partnership swings into action, the 2019 Nissan Heisman House campaign is already underway as part of the company’s now 14-year sponsorship of the Heisman Memorial Trophy Award and the Heisman Trophy Trust.

The new Nissan College Program will also include partnerships with 33 of the most high-profile college athletics departments from eight key regions – Southeast, Central, Midwest, Atlantic, Northwest, Northeast, Mountain and West.

Nissan’s NCAA partnership comes as the company continues to fight against declining sales figures in the US. Allyson Witherspoon, vice-president of marketing communications and media for Nissan North America, told Ad Age that Nissan is committed to increasing its marketing, saying spending is up about 10 per cent this financial year.

The sales drop “means it’s even more important for us to be talking about the brand,” Witherspoon added.