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Volume 24 No. 158

Marketing and Sponsorship

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).

EyeBlack announced today it has signed a deal with Little League Baseball Inc. to become an approved licensee of the youth sports organization through the next season. Per the deal, Little League Baseball, Little League Softball and the Little League Challenger Division will all see their logos featured on EyeBlack’s glare-reducing adhesives. The deal with Little League extends the company’s relationship with the sport of baseball, as it already has deals with MLB and Minor League Baseball. EyeBlack also just recently signed a deal with National Pro Fastpitch, the only professional softball league in the U.S. “Little League is the iconic name in youth baseball … so it’s a perfectly natural fit for us,” EyeBlack Founder & CEO Peter Beveridge said. The patches will feature trademarked logos and be available in various colors, including pink for softball. Despite not having a presence in Little League prior to this deal, Beveridge expects EyeBlack to sell around a quarter of a million pairs through '13. Beveridge said, “Both Little League and EyeBlack saw this as a really ripe opportunity, that there really wasn’t that much being done on it.” The deal comes out in time for the Little League World Series, which starts August 16. Outside of baseball, EyeBlack holds deals with MLL, Nike, more than 150 collegiate programs, and individual athletes including Bears LB Brian Urlacher and Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley.

The N.Y. Post reported Prince Sports "has won court approval of its restructuring plan giving ownership of the company to lenders." Under Prince's reorganization plan, lender ABG-Prince "will get all the reorganized company's equity in exchange" for its $67.2M secured debt. Unsecured creditors owed about $13.8M "will get proceeds from lawsuits and cash for an estimated recovery" of 2.7% (N.Y. POST, 7/29).

NOTES FROM TRAINING CAMP: Verizon Wireless is now the presenting sponsor of the '12 Raiders training camp. The expanded relationship between the team and Verizon includes signage and media backdrops at the Raiders' Napa Valley training complex, branding on the team's website, social media campaigns, hospitality events and VIP benefits (Raiders)....In Charlotte, Person & Green noted the NFL Panthers "are wearing a small 'Pepsi' patch on the front of their practice jerseys, the first time they've sold an ad on their practice gear." Meanwhile, the team "drew 12,871 fans to their preseason party/practice" Saturday at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C. (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 7/29).

STAY WITH TRADITION: ESPN’s Rod Gilmore said he is “not a fan” of Nebraska's new alternative football uniform because “it looks like something off of the Periodic Table chart” with the symbol "N." Nebraska is wearing the adidas uniform in its Sept. 29 game against Wisconsin, and Gilmore said, “They should have gone black unis completely with a little bit of red. … For one game only, a change is fine, but stick with some tradition. This is not the NFL” (“College Football Live,” ESPN, 7/30).

THIRST IS EVERYTHING:'s Elias Cepeda noted UFC fighter Phil Davis "appears in a new Sprite television commercial, twisting an actor into knots." The fact that Sprite "doesn’t just use Phil as an anonymous beefy tough dude figure in the video, but instead mention his name, might lead us to believe that they feel the young audience they are trying to reach would have already heard of the fighter" (, 7/28).