A VW source said the company will pay between 25 million and 30 million euros a year to be the main sponsor of the German national soccer team.
FRANKFURT -- Volkswagen will become the biggest commercial sponsor of Germany's national soccer team, it said on Friday, replacing luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz after 45 years.
The five and a half year partnership between the world's biggest carmaker by sales and the German national soccer association (DFB) will start in 2019, VW said. The German team will be defending its World Cup title in Russia next year.
A VW source said the company will pay between 25 million and 30 million euros ($29 million to $34 million) a year for the contract, including 6 million euros in sponsor fees for the DFB German Cup competition.
Given soccer's huge popularity, VW views the deal with the national team as an ideal marketing platform as it seeks to repair its image following its diesel-emissions cheating scandal and makes a strategic shift toward electric cars.
"As a company we have set ourselves some ambitious goals for the next years," VW brand CEO Herbert Diess said. "Volkswagen is changing. We are facing great challenges. The partnership with the DFB will help us in that way."
Wolfsburg-based VW has for years spent heavily on its own soccer team in Germany's top division even though experts have questioned the business case because its VfL Wolfsburg club has only limited revenue streams and lacks an international fan base.