Kia Motors’ most notable sports partnership was established while the brand was a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company. Both brands created a partnership with the Federation of International Football Association [FIFA] when Korea and Japan hosted the 2002 World Cup. Kia and Hyundai offered significant logistical support for the various FIFA competitions by providing the fleets of official vehicles on-site. Since then, both automakers have acquired a contract with FIFA for all competitions until 2022.
Kia has continued building relationships within the FIFA and most recently it was announced that Kia Motors is a Gold Sponsor of Copa America 2011, the oldest soccer championship tournament in the world. This competition is equivalent to the UEFA European Football Championship.
Kia’s second power-partnership us “Executive Automotive Partner’ with the National Basketball Association (NBA). Kia’s brand presence in the NBA began in 2008 with on court partnerships and now includes four of the NBA’s most prestigious year-end honors including the “Most Valuable Player Award”, “Defensive Player of the Year”, “Sixth Man Award”, and “Most Improved Player”, into a single series called “The NBA Performance Awards Presented by Kia.” You should note that Kia currently sponsors 13 of the 30 NBA teams including big metropolitan areas like Los Angeles [Clippers], Miami [Heat], Boston [Celtics], and New York [Knicks].
The video below shows how the partnership has evolved with this year’s All Star Dunk Contest. LA Clippers Blake Griffin attempts to jump over the new 2011 Kia Optima.
TennisIn the world of tennis, Kia sought opportunity in increasing awareness of their brand and partnered up with the Australian Open, the first of the four annual Grand Slam tennis tournaments. The partnership began in 2002 as Kia wanted to change their brand perception into a sporty brand, designed to appeal to younger drivers with an emphasis on excitement and versatility. During the Open, Kia helps facilitate the transportation for the tennis players, officials, and VIP’s. What makes this partnership authentic is that they make a lot of effort engaging with their fans that attend the Open. They hold two major evets for the attendees, the Kia Amateur Tennis Open, and the Kia Fan of the Day. By having these events they help engage with their bring fans. In 2006 Kia selected Rafael Nadal [current #1 Tennis Player in the world, ATP] as their brand ambassador.
GolfKia also markets golf enthusiasts by being sponsors in the Ladies PGA and hosting an annual tournament in the City of Industry, CA for the first time in the Los Angeles area in six years. Their expansion to the Golf industry was lead by professional golf player Michelle Wie as the Kia Golf Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for the brand.
Kia has gone to great lengths to engage with a younger demographic using partnerships in the action sports industry. In Asia they are the major sponsor and partners to the XGames Asia and engage with their fans during the event. Here in the States, they have partnered up with the Vans Warped Tour and used their Kia Soul vehicle as their official vehicle to the tour. Kia has also launched a motor-sports division that has showcased their high performance vehicles.
Kia has demonstrated its capabilities and engage with their customers on a one on one basis without directly selling to them. By having these partnerships with top sports industries they continue to make a statement towards becoming an industry leader.