Motor manufacturer extends deal to sponsor televised matches for ninth season in succession
Motor manufacturer Ford today confirmed that it would extend its long running sponsorship of televised Premier League football when it signed a new deal with BSkyB, writes Dominic Timms.

The US car company's sponsorship kicks off with at the start of next season on 19 August and gives it exclusive title sponsorship of Sky Sports 66 live matches as well as non-exclusive title sponsorship of a range of associated football programming, including Goals on Sunday and Football Tonight.

As part of the multi-million pound deal Ford will also sponsor Sky Sports coverage of Scottish international, league and cup matches as well international games featuring the Republic of Ireland, international rugby union games and the US PGA Golf Tour. Financial details were not revealed.

Ford marketing director, John Mendel said the sponsorship would play a key role in the company's overall marketing strategy. 'Live football is one of the most valuable properties in TV today. Over the years, Ford's association with Sky Sports has enabled us to build tremendous equity in Premiership football. We share the British fans' passion for the sport and appreciate the thrill that only the live coverage can deliver.'

News of Ford's ninth consecutive sponsorship of the Premier League comes just days before an expected announcement on which broadcasters will share the league's pay-per-view matches. The deal - which gives broadcasters access to around 40 games - is expected to be shared by NTL, ONdigital, Telewest and BSkyB.

The value for the new deal is expected to be a little over half the£327 million NTL originally agreed to stump up for the pay-per-view rights. The cable broadcaster later withdrew its offer after fears emerged that it had overpaid.