Ahead of the 2021 AFLW and AFL season, Ford Australia and the Geelong Football Club have announced the next chapter of what is believed to be the longest sporting sponsorship in the world, with a historic signing that will take the partnership to 100 years by 2025.
Ford Australia President and CEO Andrew Birkic and Geelong Football Club CEO Brian Cook signed the contract at the GMHBA Stadium, securing the deal for a further five years.
First signed in 1925, Ford and the Cats are believed to have the longest-running partnership in sporting history. This milestone demonstrates the long-lasting bond between the two Victoria-based organisations, and Ford’s ongoing commitment to Geelong, with its global research and development hub in Norlane, Geelong, the Ford YouYangs Proving Ground, and strong roots embedded across the community.
“If there’s one thing footy and Ford have in common, it’s the dedication and passion of their fans right throughout our histories,” said Birkic. “To put it into historical terms, Ford first signed on when we were making Model T and we’re still here with the Club as our Australian team works on advanced technology and engineering vehicles of the future. We’ve gone through nine Geelong Premierships, 18 Grand Finals, and 52 finals series together.”
Following the upheaval of 2020, which saw the relocation of the AFL competition season and Ford Australia transfer most its team to work from home, resilience and mateship is yet another theme the Cats and Ford have in common. “There is a lot of uncertainty in the world, but one thing we can all count on is the ongoing successful partnership between the Geelong Football Club and Ford,” added Cook. “As the club’s sole major sponsor, we are thankful for the support that Ford has given us over the past 95 years. We believe this is the most enduring partnership in sport, and we see this partnership surpassing the century.”
A significant moment for Ford Australia, the milestone has made its way to Ford’s Michigan headquarters, with Executive Chairman Bill Ford sending his well-wishes Down Under in a letter to the Club. “Community and commitment are important values that guide us at Ford, and our 95-year partnership with the Geelong Football Club is testament to that commitment. Geelong has always been a very important place for Ford, with many of our 2,500 Australian designers, engineers and specialists calling it home, and our extensive proving ground and engineering facilities in the region.”
The announcement, held at the Cats’ home ground, GMHBA Stadium, saw the official commemorative signing of the contract to take the sponsorship through to 100 years. Flanked by Geelong superstars Joel Selwood, Patrick Dangerfield, Meghan McDonald and Becky Webster, the signing was shared by Ford’s own showstoppers, the all-new Puma SUV and all-new Escape.
Ford’s long-standing commitment to the Geelong community is not just with its home club, but also the many retired and current employees from the region, many of whom are employed at Ford’s Research & Development Centre in Geelong and its Proving Ground in the YouYangs. As part of Ford’s ongoing investment into Australian innovation and STEAM education, Ford Australia is also a close partner of Deakin University Waurn Ponds campus, funding in part the Ford Australia Women in STEAM Scholarship.
For more information on the Ford Australia and Geelong Football Club partnership, visit www.ford.com.au/about-ford/sponsorship/geelong-football-club.