SBD/July 31, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Chevrolet Inks ManU Jersey Deal On Heels Of Ewanick Ouster, Liverpool Deal

Chevy's seven-year shirt sponsorship deal with ManU is valued at nearly US$60M
General Motors' Chevrolet brand yesterday formally unveiled its seven-year shirt sponsorship deal with EPL club Manchester United valued at nearly US$600M, one day after GM Global Chief Marketing Officer Joel Ewanick was "ousted in connection with a deal" that provided sponsorship of the club, according to Ben Klayman of REUTERS. A source said that GM will pay US$60-70M a year, "at least double the current fee paid by insurance broker Aon." The source added that the automaker will pay a US$100M "activation fee" (REUTERS, 7/30). In Detroit, Brent Snavely notes the sponsorship deal makes Chevy “just the fifth company to sponsor the soccer team’s jersey in its 134-year history.” Chevy last week also announced that it had entered a four-year agreement with EPL club Liverpool to become its "official" automotive partner. GM Manager for Cross Brand Communications & Media Relations Tom Henderson said, “They are completely separate deals. We sponsor both clubs because they are two of the most legendary clubs in the world. For us it’s about global reach to fans who are really passionate about soccer” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 7/31). The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Terlep & Vranica report GM signed the sponsorship with ManU “after altering terms of the deal negotiated by” Ewanick. A source said that GM, which is “pushing Chevrolet as its principal global brand, decided to go ahead with the shirt-sponsorship beginning in 2014 despite the departure of Mr. Ewanick and after changing the agreement's terms” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/31).

HIS TURN TO TALK: AD AGE's Rupal Parekh noted GM interim CMO Alan Batey "started out his first day on the job by speaking publicly about General Motors further strengthening its relationship with soccer club Manchester United -- which, interestingly, is the very same relationship that's being reported as the root of Mr. Ewanick's ouster." Batey in a statement said, "Manchester United's statistics are impressive, but this relationship goes far beyond the numbers -- this relationship is about connecting our brand with the deep-seated emotion that surrounds the team everywhere it goes." It is a "swift effort on Mr. Batey's part to seize control of the conversation, rather than avoiding the Manchester United topic completely" (, 7/30).
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