Hyundai Motor America has landed sponsorship rights for the NFL's "Sunday Night Football" Kickoff show on NBC.
"Sunday Night Football" has been prime-time TV's top show for seven consecutive seasons, the automaker said, averaging more than 18 million viewers each week last season.
Hyundai, already the NFL's official automotive sponsor, came into the 2018 season looking to assume a bigger role on game day.
The league sponsorship deal that it struck in 2015 allowed Hyundai and its dealers to use the logos of the NFL and its teams, while giving the brand permission to use the term "Super Bowl" during promotions around one of advertising's biggest stages.
But the deal offered little direct advertising exposure during NFL games on Fox, CBS and NBC, leaving the door open for deeper-pocketed brands to own game day telecasts. So football fans continued to get heavy doses of brands such as Ford, the NFL's truck sponsor, GMC, a "Monday Night Football" sponsor, and Toyota, which previously sponsored the halftime report on "Monday Night Football" in addition to its ongoing sponsorship of Sunday night's halftime show.
Hyundai's "Sunday Night Football" pregame play could help it intercept some viewer attention.
"You can buy the sponsorship, and then if you don't have enough money to run enough TV commercials, you almost don't look like the sponsor," said Dean Evans, Hyundai Motor America's marketing chief. "We've tried to recalibrate that a little bit."
He added: "When you're watching football this year, it's going to feel more like Hyundai is the sponsor."
Hyundai says the presenting sponsorship of the Sunday night kickoff show will feature an array of branding elements, including logo animations, in-studio logos, a weekly feature and logo placements on the broadcast's countdown clock and scoreboard, among others.
Hyundai will also sponsor a three-part digital series called "Cover 2" that will give fans a closer look at some league rivalries. The series, produced by Hyundai's ad agency Innocean, will bring together a former player from both teams playing on Sunday night. They'll discuss aspects of the rivalry that make it special to them, the fans and the teams, while driving around the home team's city in a Santa Fe crossover.
Hyundai says the videos will run during three rivalry games: Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 30, Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 21 and Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 25. A 30-second version of each video will air during the Sunday night broadcast, and fans will be directed to HyundaiUSA.com to watch the completed piece.
Hyundai will be the presenting sponsor of the 2018 NFL Kickoff Driven by Hyundai daylong festival that takes place before the season's opening game between the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 6. The event will be at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia. Festivities will include a concert by Shawn Mendes, autograph signings from NFL legends and displays of the Santa Fe, Kona, Tucson and Veloster Turbo. The concert will be featured on the pregame broadcast on NBC and NFL Network and streamed online.