Ford Motor Co. replaced Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc. as the biggest spender in the auto category in 2016, according to ESP research.

The primary reason: Ford’s multi-million-dollar sponsorship with the National Football League. The deal, as well as a few others, helped increase the automaker’s sponsorship spend an estimated $20 million from 2015 to 2016.

Below, sponsorship spending, major deals and portfolio overviews at the five biggest spenders in the auto category.

Ford Motor Corp.

Estimated 2016 Sponsorship Spend: $175M-$180M
Estimated 2015 Sponsorship Spend: $155M-$160M

Top Properties In Terms Of Spending:

  • National Football League
  • AT&T Stadium/Dallas Cowboys
  • Wood Brothers Racing

Where Ford Spends Money (Deals)
Where Ford Spends Money (Deals)

While Ford is the biggest spender in the auto category, the company is the second-most active sponsor in terms of number of deals. Thirteen percent of properties with a sponsor in the auto category report a partnership with Ford, while twenty percent of properties report a partnership with Toyota.

Ford signed two new national partnerships over the past year: The Wanderlust yoga festivals and Billboard magazine and the Ford Front Row concert series.

The deals build on a portfolio that includes long-running sponsorships of the Built Ford Tough Professional Bull Riders Series and Susan G. Komen.

Ford uses the sponsorships to establish a dialogue with consumers, demonstrate shared values and bring fans closer to their favorite passions.

“It’s a way to step into their lives without being intrusive. We see a remarkable lift in opinion when we speak about topics that are important to them,” said Dave Rivers, Ford brand marketing content manager.

The automaker uses the Ford Front Row concert series to bring music fans closer to their favorite artists through exclusive content and the opportunity to attend intimate performances.

Ford has hosted concerts in Los Angeles, Miami and Atlanta, with the final concert taking place in October in New York City. Ford will leverage the concert with Susan G. Komen in support of breast cancer awareness month.

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Estimated 2016 Sponsorship Spend: $165M-$170M
Estimated 2015 Sponsorship Spend: $195M-$200M

Top Properties In Terms Of Spending:

  • International Olympic Committee/U.S. Olympic Committee
  • Joe Gibbs Racing
  • NASCAR

Where Toyota Spends Money (Deals)
Where Toyota Spends Money (Deals)

Toyota this year has signed new and/or expanded partnerships with four National Governing Bodies in advance of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, its first Olympic Games under its IOC sponsorship.

The ties include U.S. Figure Skating, U.S. Ski & Snowboard, US Speedskating and USA Hockey.

Toyota’s 2016 sponsorship spending was pressured in part by the shuttering of one of its NASCAR teams, Michael Waltrip Racing.

General Motors Corp.

Estimated 2016 Sponsorship Spend: $145M-$150M
Estimated 2015 Sponsorship Spend: $150M-$155M

Top Properties In Terms Of Spending:

  • Hendrick Motorsports
  • Major League Baseball
  • Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

Where General Motors Spends Money (Deals)
Where General Motors Spends Money (Deals)

General Motors focuses on discrete sponsorship platforms for each of its three key brands: Chevrolet (Major League Baseball and youth sports), Cadillac (arts and culture) and Buick (college basketball).

Cadillac, for example, has doubled down on arts and culture since relaunching its brand and moving its headquarters to New York City in 2015. Ties include The Andy Warhol Museum, Global Citizen and Republic Records.

Chevrolet, meanwhile, focuses on youth sports, both baseball and soccer. The brand has donated more than 135,000 equipment kits, renovated more than 9,400 ball parks and impacted more than 6.7 million boys and girls since rolling out the Chevy Youth Baseball program in 2016.

Dealers and test drives play a key role in the youth sports programs. More than 1,500 dealers have hosted 10,000-plus test drives  since the inception of the Chevy Youth Baseball program in 2016, while 700-plus dealers have hosted more than 4,300 test drives as part of the Chevy Youth Soccer program.

Chevy in 2017 extended its partnership with the Detroit Red Wings as the official vehicle of Detroit’s new Little Caesars Arena.

Hyundai Motor America

Estimated 2016 Sponsorship Spend: $85M-$90M
Estimated 2015 Sponsorship Spend: $80M-$85M

Top Properties In Terms Of Spending:

  • National Football League
  • 24 NCAA colleges
  • Genesis Open

Where Hyundai Spends Money (Deals)
Where Hyundai Spends Money (Deals)

Hyundai Motor America focuses on the National Football League, college football and professional golf as its three primary sponsorship platforms.

In an op-ed piece in Automotive News, Dean Evans, Hyundai CMO, credits the NFL sponsorship with driving increased opinion, consideration and purchase intent.

  • Thirty-four percent awareness among NFL fans
  • No. 1 awareness among auto companies
  • Sixty-seven percent of fans who are aware of the sponsorship consider Hyundai for purchase
  • Seventy-seven percent of consumers who visited a Hyundai NFL activation said they would consider buying a Hyundai as their next vehicle.

Hyundai in 2016 signed title of the former Northern Trust Open PGA Tour stop in Los Angeles to promote the spinoff of its Genesis luxury brand. Genesis also served as the official vehicle of the 2017 Super Bowl and presenting sponsor of the NFL Experience.

Mercedes-Benz

Estimated 2016 Sponsorship Spend: $55M-$60M
Estimated 2015 Sponsorship Spend: $55M-$60M

Top Properties In Terms Of Spending:

  • Mercedes-Benz Stadium
  • USTA US Open
  • Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Where Mercedes-Benz Spends Money (Deals)
Where Mercedes-Benz Spends Money (Deals)

Mercedes-Benz sponsors tennis (US Open, Roger Federer, Mercedes-Benz Dealer Championships) and golf (The Masters, The PGA of America) to promote its positioning as a performance-oriented vehicle brand.

The automaker activated the 2017 US Open with vehicle display (including its purpose-built AMG vehicles) and complimentary parking for customers.

Mercedes-Benz plans to leverage the recently-opened Mercedes-Benz Stadium with vehicle display, complimentary customer parking, AMG GT racing simulators and VR experiences that will let attendees virtually test drive a new Mercedes-Benz.

Mercedes-Benz USA moved its headquarters to Atlanta earlier this year.