I didn't really pay much attention when Fiat's sponsorship of Italian football giant Juventus was announced back in April. The deal, worth 35 million Euros, begins next month and runs for three seasons.

The name of the Fiat-owned Jeep brand will be emblazoned across the chest of the Juve team shirt during the 2012/13 season. And at Tuesday's launch of the stonking new Grand Cherokee SRT, I got an insight into the value of such tie-ups.

I remarked to Yann Chabert, Jeep's European marketing director, that the sponsorship deal seemed an odd fit for such a rugged brand. He reminded me that the Fiat-founding Agnelli family and Juve club go way back, with Edo Agnelli having owned the club in the early 1920s, and he reckoned that Jeep and the football club share three core values - authenticity, passion and performance.

The figures he then told me helped it make sense.

Juventus has about 11.2 million fans in Italy, and approximately 35m across Europe. But as well as competing in the domestic Serie A, the team has also qualified for the next Champions League campaign, which will put it on the televisions of an estimated 300m people around the world.

That's impressive global reach for the Jeep name, and when numbers like that get thrown around I can understand the appeal of such link-ups for car companies, and why aligning yourself with another well-respected brand is preferable to spending 35 million euros on a global advertising campaign.

Jeep is enjoying a decent spell in Europe. Assisted by fast growth in the SUV market across the continent, last year's sales hit a record high, and this year's performance to date is showing signs of eclipsing that.

But its product line-up competes in an ultra-competitive sector where the premium German makes also hunt. Having the Jeep name plastered over the shirts of Juve's starting XI week in, week out won't harm the brand's European prominence one bit.

Yann Chabert also told me that Jeep's market research threw up an interesting nugget.

When respondents were asked to name SUV brands off the top of their heads, Jeep didn't figure particularly highly. But when they were prompted with a list of brands and asked to choose which car maker best represented SUV values, many selected Jeep. Which suggests that people know what Jeep is all about, but it isn't the first name to come to mind.

Even if only one per cent of Juve's domestic fan base gains awareness of the brand and what it stands for, that's 112,000 people who might be swayed Jeep's way should they ever be in the market for a 4x4.