Nissan has signed a sponsorship deal with the UEFA Champions League, Europe's top club football competition, from the 2014-15 season up to the 2017-18 season.

The move is line with Nissan's strategy for the expansion of its digital marketing footprint. It would see the Japanese car manufacturer replace American rival Ford, who had been partnering with the UEFA competition for 22 years.

As part of the tie-up, Nissan would get extensive rights and branding around Champions League matches, including the final, pre-match training sessions, digital media and hospitality benefits. The company's European CIO Stephen Kneebone, who was placed top in the 2014 edition of the CIO 100, recently said that potential buyers' journey often begins at home on the internet.

"Hence, we have identified that digital excellence as a key priority. In the automotive world Nissan is seen as a challenger brand, in digital we are positioning ourselves as leaders. The pace of digital in automotive is faster than retail. After all we compete in general retail for consumers, so it is to be expected," he told CIO UK.

Commercial details of the tie-up between UEFA and Nissan were not revealed. Alongside the automaker, other current sponsors include Mastercard, Unicredit, Heineken, Gazprom and Sony.

Roel de Vries, Nissan's global head of marketing, said: "Europe's most prestigious football competition will be an important global platform for Nissan, and our aim is to show fans all over the world the excitement of both football and our cars."

Under the terms of agreement, Nissan will also be a sponsor of the UEFA Super Cup, a one-off match played every year between winners of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League, with next fixture scheduled to be played in Cardiff on August 12.

Other Nissan sports sponsorships deals include the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Great Britain and Mexico Olympic teams, and the Africa Cup of Nations.