MINNEAPOLIS – With Hyundai’s first-half U.S. sales increase lagging that of the industry, the brand is hoping to boost its profile via a new marketing deal and redesigned CUV.

“(This is a) great opportunity for a brand, albeit 30 years in the market, that is still trying to prove itself against Japanese competitors that are 50 years-plus old and domestic competitors that are 100 years-plus old,” Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai Motor America CEO, tells WardsAuto of the brand’s newly inked deal as the official automotive sponsor of the National Football League.

Effective with the upcoming season, Hyundai’s sponsorship is multifaceted and should allow the brand to reach a wide demographic range, says Zuchowski, speaking on the sidelines of a ’16 Tucson media preview here.

“When you add in fantasy football, when you add in international (audiences, you find a) completely different demographic than the (traditional) NFL, but the engagement level is incredibly high,” he says.

Hyundai’s NFL-related marketing activities kick off with the start of the new U.S. professional football season in September. Hyundai says it will be able to use NFL trademarks in its advertising, promotional materials and branded-content activities.

The increasingly international reach of the NFL is one reason why Zuchowksi believes the organization was attracted to Hyundai. The South Korean automaker already is a sponsor overseas of the other game of football, soccer, and last year the automaker backed the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

“We’re a global company, and that was very intriguing to them, so it’s a good partnership,” he says of the NFL.

Zuchowski says Hyundai has done best in the U.S. when it has been on advertising’s bigger stages.

“When we grew the fastest, we got into big voices and big places, so this is just a huge voice and a huge place,” he says of the NFL, which has an estimated 188 million fans.

Hyundai replaces General Motors as the NFL’s automotive sponsor.