In fact, the Chicago Bears faced off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday, not at Soldier Field in Illinois or Raymond James Stadium in Florida, but at Wembley Stadium in London. It was the fifth NFL International Series game played there in as many years at the venue that's used to hosting the other kind of football.
It's the kind of opportunity an American automaker trying to make a name for itself in the UK couldn't pass up. And since Ford is well established there and GM is represented by its local brand Vauxhall, that could only mean one company: Chrysler. While Lancia markets Chrysler models in continental Europe, the inverse is the case in the UK, where the American brand has a better reputation than its Italian counterpart.
And so Chrysler was there in full force as the Official Car of the NFL (in the UK), sponsoring the International Series (as well as the Super Bowl broadcast there), displaying the new Chrysler Ypsilon and transporting VIPs around in Grand Voyagers. The arrangement follows a similar announcement between Mercedes-Benz and the New Orleans Saints that saw the German luxury automaker acquire the naming rights to the Louisiana Superdome.
Chrysler UK has today announced a sponsorship deal with the National Football League in the UK which will see it become the Official Car Sponsor of the NFL.
Chrysler will receive a comprehensive rights package relating to the NFL's assets and key events, including the 2011 NFL International Series and the Super Bowl. The new agreement also includes exclusive broadcast sponsorship of Sky Sports' live NFL coverage throughout the 2011 season.
For this weekend's (23 October) International Series game, between the Chicago Bears and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium, Chrysler will be displaying an NFL/team branded Chrysler Ypsilon and Delta, and running various incentives for NFL fans at both the pre-game Tailgate party and the NFL Fan Rally in Trafalgar Square the day before the game. Chrysler will also be transporting VIPs, including several NFL Legends, to and from various events over the weekend in Chrysler Grand Voyagers.
Nigel Land, Chrysler UK brand director comments: "This partnership sees two US giants join forces and take centre stage in the UK this weekend. It's a great opportunity for us to promote the Chrysler brand through our association with the NFL, and in doing so showcase our recently launched Ypsilon supermini and Delta hatchback models. Chrysler shares similar brand values to the NFL and with both brands looking to strengthen their position in the UK, it's a relationship we look forward to developing as the NFL season progresses."
Speaking about the Chrysler and NFL partnership, Marc Armstrong, commercial director of NFL UK, said: "We are delighted to welcome Chrysler on board as our Official Car Sponsor as we continue to expand our UK commercial programme. We look forward to working in partnership with such an iconic American car brand on an exciting range of initiatives to target existing and new NFL fans alike, and Chrysler's support is a great endorsement of the NFL's continued expansion in the UK."
In 2009, Chrysler Group formed a global strategic alliance with Fiat S.p.A, a company with a long, rich history and strong propensity towards technological innovation for its products and production processes. Fiat brings world-class technology, platforms and powertrains for small and medium-sized cars, enabling Chrysler to add these environmentally-friendly vehicles to its world-class product line-up.
In the UK Chrysler sells the world's best-selling MPV, the Grand Voyager, the spacious and luxurious Delta family hatchback and the chic new and environmentally-friendly supermini, the Ypsilon.
About NFL UK
The NFL's fifth International Series regular-season game in the UK sees the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Chicago Bears in Wembley Stadium at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday 23 October. The game will be supported by a weekend-long programme of fan events, details of which can be found at www.nfluk.com. NFL games are broadcast in the UK on Sky Sports, Channel 4, ESPN and BBC TV and Radio. Check www.nfluk.com for listings.