Chevy signs sponsorship deal with Manchester after Ewanick's exit
DETROIT -- General Motors said today that its Chevrolet brand will adorn the jerseys of England's Manchester United soccer club under a seven-year sponsorship deal with the team beginning with the 2014-15 season.
Chevrolet, which announced a five-year sponsorship of Manchester United in May that did not include the brand's logo on players' jerseys, said in a statement that it will be the fifth jersey sponsor in the club's 134-year history.
Chevrolet will replace insurance company Aon Corp. on the jerseys. Aon's partnership with Manchester United began in the 2010-11 season.
The deal is valued at as much as nearly $600 million, Reuters reported.
Under the seven-year deal, which makes Chevrolet the jersey sponsor starting in the 2014-2015 season, GM will pay $60 million to $70 million a year -- at least double the current fee paid by insurance broker Aon, said a person with knowledge of the contract who asked not to be identified. GM also will pay the club a $100 million activation fee, the person said.
The deal is part of a major push by GM to increase Chevrolet's sales and market share across Europe, where it has traditionally marketed Opel and Vauxhall.
The announcement comes a day after GM dismissed global marketing chief Joel Ewanick, who failed to properly vet the financial details of a European soccer sponsorship, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and Bloomberg reported.
Last week, Chevrolet also struck a sponsorship deal with Liverpool Football Club, Manchester United's rival.
The Liverpool deal, which runs through the 2015-16 Barclays Premier League and European seasons, allows for Chevrolet brand visibility at Liverpool's home field and player appearances "for commercial opportunities," GM said last week.
"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," Alan Batey, GM North America vice president of U.S. sales and service, said in a statement. GM has appointed Batey as Ewanick's interim replacement.
Richard Arnold, Manchester United's commercial director, said in a statement: "We have been partners with Chevrolet for only six weeks, but already they have produced some fantastic ideas that will benefit both the partnership and our 659 million followers around the world."
Reuters contributed to this report.
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