It's getting colder. The sun is setting earlier. You know what that means, folks – that's right, it's hockey season. And just as fans are gearing up for fast-pace action at arenas across the United States and Canada, so are automakers as two such companies have announced deals with National Hockey League teams in the cities near their headquarters.

First on the starting lineup is Nissan, whose Tennessee-based American division has signed a new deal with the Nashville Predators that, while not extending to naming rights (as Mercedes-Benz recently secured in New Orleans) of the Bridgestone Arena where they play, does see including the naming of the Nissan Atrium therein and places Nissan as the team's official car. Well, sorta: the technical wording is "exclusive non-luxury import automotive partner" of both the team and the arena, leaving the door open to domestic and premium competitors.

Chrysler has similarly announced the renewal of its partnership with the Detroit Red Wings, with increased signage at Joe Louis Arena and placing Ram as the team's official truck. Both deals will be leveraged into promotional campaigns, and you can read about 'em in the pair of press releases after the jump.
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- Nissan to become the exclusive non-luxury import automotive partner -

The Nashville Predators and Nissan Americas, two of the most recognizable brands that call Middle Tennessee home, today announced a multi-year partnership naming Nissan the exclusive non-luxury import automotive partner of the Predators and Bridgestone Arena. The announcement was made at a press conference in the soon-to-be-renamed Nissan Atrium at Bridgestone Arena by Predators CEO Jeff Cogen, Vice Chairman of Nissan Americas Bill Krueger and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. Terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

Among the highlights of the partnership include Nissan placing its name on the main entrance of Bridgestone Arena (Nissan Entrance ) and the atrium just inside the main entrance (Nissan Atrium), branding rights to one of the facility's Zambonis, internal and ice-level signage, in-game sponsorship elements as well as creation of interactive and innovative fan-affinity programs, including game night giveaways. Ticketholders attending tonight's regular season home opener will receive T-shirts, courtesy of Nissan, to celebrate the partnership.

"Nissan's commitment to the Predators and Bridgestone Arena is a welcomed addition," Predators CEO Jeff Cogen said. "Like the Predators, Nissan is committed to Nashville and Middle Tennessee and this partnership further illustrates that commitment. Nissan's involvement also continues the momentum our franchise and venue have been building on over the last 18 months. We continue to strive to make Bridgestone Arena the top sports and entertainment facility in the country and the Predators the top team in the NHL. Adding another blue-chip multinational partner such as Nissan further strengthens our efforts."

Nissan moved its headquarters for the Americas to Middle Tennessee in 2006, but has had a long and successful presence in the community, dating back to the opening of its plant in Smyrna in 1981. Since that time, Nissan has invested heavily in Tennessee from its powertrain assembly plant in Decherd to its advanced battery plant in Smyrna, that is currently under construction. Bridgestone Arena attracts more than 1.5 million guests to more than 100 sports and entertainment events annually, providing a diverse and wide variety of audiences with access to the Nissan brand and marketing.

In just the past five years, Nissan has donated more than $5 million to Tennessee non-profit organizations such as Second Harvest, Nashville Symphony, Frist Center for Visual Arts, Nashville Public Television, Oasis Center, Harpeth River Watershed Association and Business Education Partnership Foundation.

"Every year during hockey season this arena becomes a focal point in this community for great hockey action," Vice Chairman of Nissan Americas Bill Krueger said. "Expanding our relationship with the Predators allows us to be part of this excitement while increasing our presence in Middle Tennessee. On top of that, we're big fans of our hometown team."

"I am pleased to see Nissan's new partnership with the Predators and Bridgestone Arena," Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said. "These three organizations have demonstrated their commitment to our economy and community, and together they will have a positive impact on Nashville."

About Nissan
In the Americas, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and was recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency in 2010 and 2011. More information on Nissan in North America, the Nissan LEAF and zero emissions can be found at

About the Nashville Predators
Since becoming the National Hockey League's 27th team on May 4, 1998, the Nashville Predators have evolved from a young expansion franchise to a model of consistency as one of just six teams to reach the postseason six of the last seven seasons and one of four to post six consecutive 40-win seasons. On the ice, the Predators are led by the defensive duo of 2011 Norris Trophy (top defenseman) runner-up Shea Weber and U.S. Olympian Ryan Suter, as well as 2011 Vezina Trophy (top goaltender) runner-up Pekka Rinne. Off it, the club is a model of consistency with 2011 GM of the Year finalist David Poile and 2010 and 2011 Jack Adams (top coach) finalist Barry Trotz being the only holders of their respective positions in franchise history.

About Bridgestone Arena
Bridgestone Arena opened in December 1996 and has been the home of the National Hockey League's Nashville Predators since 1998. The facility has hosted more than 13 million guests for such events as the NCAA Men's Basketball Regional Tournament, SEC and OVC Men's & Women's Basketball Tournament, as well as concerts for entertainers such as Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, Garth Brooks, Elton John, Billy Joel, the Rolling Stones, Tim McGraw, Keith Urban and Jimmy Buffett.

Red Wings and Chrysler Group LLC Extend Partnership Agreement
Long-standing Relationship Will Continue to Unite Two of the Motor City's Most Accomplished Organizations

The Detroit Red Wings and Chrysler Group LLC today announced that the two iconic Detroit organizations have extended their partnership agreement for the 2011-12 NHL campaign. The longest-running automotive member of the Red Wings' corporate partnership family, Chrysler Group's in-arena presence at Joe Louis Arena will be greatly enhanced as part of this new agreement, with several exciting new partnership elements also set to be implemented throughout the coming season.

"Chrysler Group has been a tremendous partner for the Red Wings over the years and we're very pleased to be extending and expanding our relationship with them," says Olympia Entertainment President Tom Wilson. "Both of our brands have been a source of pride and inspiration for the people of Detroit and we look forward to continuing to be joint symbols of the city's resurgence moving forward."

As title sponsors of the traditional Three Stars of the Game ceremony at JLA, Metro Detroit Ram dealers will present randomly-selected fans with autographed sticks upon the conclusion of the post-game ritual in 2011-12. Ram is also now designated the Official Truck of the Red Wings; a three-time recipient of Motor Trend magazine's Truck of the Year Award, the Warren, Michigan-built vehicle will be a mainstay on the ice at The Joe as part of intermission-staged fan vehicle rides. Chrysler Group will also be presenting intermission promotions such as the ever-popular Score-O showdown as well as a variety of new activities and contests set to engage and entertain citizens of Hockeytown in attendance at Red Wings home games this season.

"We are pleased to continue our relationship with the Detroit Red Wings organization. This collaboration demonstrates teamwork at its finest, as each party represents passion, hard work and determination," says John Plecha, Director of the Great Lakes Business Center, Chrysler Group LLC. "We are also honored that Ram has been named the 'official truck' of the Detroit Red Wings."

About Chrysler Group LLC
Chrysler Group LLC, formed in 2009 from a global strategic alliance with Fiat S.p.A., produces Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram, Mopar®, SRT® and Fiat vehicles and products. With the resources, technology and worldwide distribution network required to compete on a global scale, the alliance builds on Chrysler Group's culture of innovation, first established by Walter P. Chrysler in 1925, and Fiat's complementary technology that dates back to its founding in 1899.

Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., Chrysler Group's product lineup features some of the world's most recognizable vehicles, including the Chrysler 300, Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Challenger and Ram 1500. Fiat contributes world-class technology, platforms and powertrains for small- and medium-size cars, allowing Chrysler Group to offer an expanded product line including environmentally friendly vehicles.

About The Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings hockey club, an Original Six member of the National Hockey League and 11-time Stanley Cup Champion, was purchased by Michael and Marian Ilitch in 1982. Other Ilitch companies in the food, sports and entertainment industries include: Little Caesars Pizza, Blue Line Foodservice Distribution, Ilitch Holdings, Inc., Olympia Entertainment, Olympia Development, Little Caesars Pizza Kits Fundraising Program, Champion Foods and Uptown Entertainment. Michael Ilitch owns the Detroit Tigers. Marian Ilitch owns the MotorCity Casino Hotel. For more information, visit

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