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Business

Opel Will Stop Sponsorship of FC Bayern Munich

Car company cites new advertising direction as the reason it has chosen not to renew its contract with internationally recognized soccer team.

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No longer partners in victory.

It’s one of the most recognized soccer jerseys on Earth, worn by a team that has been not only dominate in Germany, but in Europe and the rest of the world as well.

But beginning in 2003, soccer club Bayern Munich will have to redesign their uniforms. Opel, the team’s main sponsor and the name splashed prominently across the jersey front, has decided not to renew ist $13.5 million-a-year contract with the club.

The company cited a desire to move in a different direction in their advertising as one of the reasons it broke ties with the internationally recognized soccer team. When the German car company, based in Rüsselsheim, began sponsorship in the late 1980s, it wanted to increase its recognition. Now Opel wants to improve its image, said spokesman Rüdiger Assion.

"We can’t do that with our current sponsorships," he told the newsmagazine, "Der Spiegel," adding the effect the team’s success on the field had on Opel’s advertising had reached a limit.

Though Opel plans to stop sponsorship when the contract runs out in 2003, it would have no problem stepping down if Bayern Munich finds a new sponsor. German insurer Allianz and Deutsche Post have already shown interest, according to newspaper reports.

"You'll be surprised," Bayern Munich's Vice President Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. "The interested candidate for sponsoring is a hot-shot in German business."