AUSTRALIA'S premier automotive brand Toyota today extended its long-term sponsorship of the Australian Football League until at least the end of the 2019 season.

The three-year agreement, which ranks among the biggest sponsorship deals in Australian sport, will extend Toyota’s position as the AFL’s premier partner to 16 years.

Toyota president Dave Buttner and AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan announced the sponsorship extension at the official launch of the 2016 Toyota AFL Finals Series in Melbourne today.

Mr Buttner said the new arrangement, from 2017-19, would help foster continued development of the game from local clubs to the elite national competition.

“Toyota and its dealers throughout Australia are proud to be part of the AFL family and to extend our commitment to growing this great game and supporting footy wherever it is played,” Mr Buttner said.

“This is a valued partnership because both Toyota and the AFL are driven to succeed through inspiration, passion and dedication,” he said.

AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan said the decision for the AFL to continue its relationship with Toyota was an easy one for the league.

“Toyota is a highly-successful values-driven organisation that is determined to be the best and has been a fantastic partner for the AFL in our efforts to grow our game.

“Dave is a football person who understands our sport intimately and the strong relationship between our organisations flows directly down from him, where his word and his company’s words stand for something and are always followed through by strong action.

“Our partnership has been great for Australian football and for Toyota and we hope to work together long into the future.”

Mr Buttner said a vital part of Toyota’s ongoing sponsorship is the Good for Footy program, which focuses on the community clubs that are the breeding ground of future champions. It has raised more than $3 million for grassroots football.

“This year, the Toyota Good for Footy raffle raised a record $574,305 to support local clubs with better facilities and equipment – and we are planning to break the record next year,” he said.

Toyota’s other involvement with the AFL includes Friday’s E. J. Whitten Legends Game and the Toyota Legendary Moments series that features memorable moments involving some of the game’s greatest players.

In South Australia, Toyota Australia recently announced it has extended its successful sponsorship of the Adelaide Crows until at least the end of the 2019 AFL season – a total of 29 years, making it one of the most enduring sponsorships in Australian sport.

Toyota also enlists prominent current and past players as ambassadors, including Hawthorn champion Luke Hodge and 2014 Australian of the Year Adam Goodes.

Toyota’s involvement in major sport throughout Australia includes its support for Cricket Australia and the Australian Olympic and Paralympic teams.

Toyota president Dave Buttner and AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan with the 2016 cup. Picture: AFL Photos