By on August 3, 2012

Devotees of the Manchester United soccer club call for a boycott of the products made by the club’s sponsors. This famously includes Chevrolet. Last Monday, GM signed a seven year contract with Manchester United. A day before, GM’s Chief Marketing Executive Joel Ewanick, the architect of the deal, was fired. Manchester United supporters are opposed to their club going public on Wall Street. To put pressure on the Glazer family to ditch the plan, they ask the public to stay clear of the products of the club’s sponsors.

According to Reuters, “the call risks embarrassing the club just days after it signed a record-breaking shirt sponsorship deal with U.S. auto company General Motors.” According to TTAC, this can’t be good for Chevrolet and the people responsible for the deal.

The Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) accused the Glazers of hurting the team’s performance by saddling it with debt in a $1.23 billion takeover in 2005. MUST has around 180,000 members.



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34 Comments on “Fired Ewanick’s Soccer Deal Backfires: Manchester United Fans Boycott Chevy...”

  • avatar

    The fans may boycott the sponsors, but they’ll keep buying the jerseys with the sponsor logos on them. (Aren’t Chevy’s UK sales low enough to kinda sorta count as a boycott already?)

  • avatar

    Meh. Girlie Man Kicky Ball. Don’t care.

    Now if the New York Football Giants told me to purchase a Chevy… I wuold still buy a Ford or Honda, but at least test drive the Chevy before rejecting it.

    • 0 avatar

      Meh. Girlie Men Wear Helmets and Padding while Carrying Ball.

      Now if Chevrolet sponsored the Rugby World Cup or Aussie Rules Football …

    • 0 avatar

      The New New York Mets blernsball team drive the all new Thunder Cougar Falcon Bird.

      We now return you to everyone loves Hypnotoad, already in progress.


    • 0 avatar

      Sorry world, we have football here, and its waaaay better. 4 seconds of play followed by a 30 sec walk, a 20 sec huddle and 10 seconds of 400 pound men grabbing each other, before the next 4 sec play. Lots of commercials thrown in between allowing us time to grab nachos and beer from the fridge. Most kids start playing soccer at 4 years old and stick with it unless they grow to 6’5″ and 350 lbs. We look up to these role models and continue to stuff our faces with food to be just like them.

      Soccer OTH is boring with 180 lb fairies and their 3 hours of intense running, passing, tackling and strategy. If you want Americans to take to soccer, cut the real play time to less than 10 minutes for a 3 hour game, allow more groping, throw in a commercial break every 10 minutes, remove the goalie and make every goal count for 10 points. Now that’s a sport.

      • 0 avatar
        01 ZX3

        Tried watching soccer, the whining and acting (faking being knocked over) was just too much.

        And do you know why soccer is the #1 sport everywhere else but here? Because it’s cheap to play.

      • 0 avatar

        ZX3 – what does being cheap to play matter? Germany and the UK (where football is very popular) are hardly poor, backward nations.

      • 0 avatar

        @alluster I don’t know what soccer (Football) games you have been watching, the few I have seen are indeed boring. Many a time, after 1 ½ hours of playing, 22 men find it impossible to place the soccer ball in the back of the net, even once. A 0-0 US football game would be joke in the papers the next day, but soccer, no big deal. Then there is the playing/acting. I don’t know if I am watching a soccer game or a second rate diving contest, where the slightest bump results in rolling on the ground in acting that I can only say I have only seen in B rate movies. Here is a classic. I was working in Mexico when the world cup was on TV. I saw a player get slightly kicked on his right ankle. He fell to the ground like he had been hit with a sledge hammer. The slow motion replay showed him getting kicked on his right ankle, but he was rolling around on the ground holding his left ankle. Evidently he was kicked so hard the pain transferred from his right ankle to his left. Maybe you would care to tell me how many times in US football you see play acting. But you are right about commercials, and money talks. It is only a matter of time see on soccer uniforms, “Honest John’s Used Cars”.

      • 0 avatar

        “ZX3 – what does being cheap to play matter? Germany and the UK (where football is very popular) are hardly poor, backward nations.”

        Because if it was not so cheap, it would not be so popular, even in Germany and UK. It certainly isn’t any more interesting to watch than the walking between American football plays.

  • avatar

    Can’t see this effecting Chevy much.

  • avatar

    More like “Manchester United fans stop buying used clapped-out Chevys”

  • avatar

    Yea like they would have actually bought one.
    In 2011 the Chevrolet brand sold 12,524 vehicles in the UK.

    • 0 avatar

      The people on this thread laughing at the size of the protest are hilarious. Maybe it is a munificent group of people, but they dwarf Chevy’s European customer base.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        CJ..they are a bunch of unemployed drunks who couldn’t afford a toy car much less a real car.

        Now, if its a beer sponsor they are boycotting and I own that beer company…then I’ll listen.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        But, since you are so worried about the impact of this boycott…here’s a list of companies that you will need to make sure you are divested from in order to avoid the devastating impact.

        Oh yeah…while you look through the list….look out!!!!!! Honda is on there…what a bunch of morons. Oh wait…it A.P. Honda…wait…that’s the name of Honda’s group in Thailand…what the heck are they doing sponsoring a British soccer club??? That’s just stupid.

        AON, DHL, BWIN, Casillero Del Diablo Wines, Hublot, Smirnoff, Mister Potato, Nike, Chevrolet, Singha Beer, Thomas Cook, Turkish Airlines, Epson, STC, PCCW Telecommunications, GlobalCom, Viva Kuwait, MTN, Airtel, Zong, Globul, TM Telecommunications, Viva Telecommunications, Turk Telekom, A.P. Honda, Airtel Africa, Beeline Telecommunications.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        One more tip for you CJ. AP Honda sponsors both ManU and Liverpool..just like Chevy just signed up to do and many questioned.

        Yes, its motorcycles not cars…but…have you heard? More people in Asia are buying cars than they used to. It has emerging markets. I know its hard to grasp, but its entirely possible that Chevy’s marketing relationship with British soccer clubs has more to do with China, Thailand etc. than selling Chevy’s in the UK or Europe.

        I know…its amusing to you to take some shots at the marketing agreement thinking that Chevy is really dumb to make such an agreement. But, when you look a bit deeper at it…what do you have to say?

        Is Chevy stupid to make this agreement? If so, then why does Honda see it the same way?

      • 0 avatar

        Honda just launched an engine family called Earth Dreams, named for the dismal failure that was rebranding their F1 team the same insipid thing as they ran it into the ground. Good luck taking marketing cues from such a company. Remember Mr. Opportunity? Made me wish I hadn’t bought a couple of their excellent cars when I saw it. One good thing about Honda is that we didn’t throw out a couple hundred years of business and contract law to keep their organized crime racket going so they can funnel money into the Democratic campaign machine. I don’t envy you your job of rationalizing GM’s managerial course.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        My job? Good lord. A guy tries to throw a few facts into the comments area of the supposed Best and Brightest and next thing he’s accused of working for the company being discussed. You’re the one using ‘we.’

        Typical intelligent discussion around GM. When in doubt, throw out the fact that they went bankrupt. Some on here like to live in the past…that’s fine. Didn’t think that was what was being discussed here.

        You have repeatedly commented how stupid it was for Chevy to sponsor a British soccer club given their very small market share in Europe. We are not discussing the effectiveness of TV ads or naming of engines. Mr. Opportunity is pretty bad…as is Chevy’s Under the Blue Arch. I thought we were discussing the intelligence of a Chevy sponsorship of Man U. But, nice job changing the subject.

        When I saw this story, I googled MUST out of curiosity and saw their list of sponsors to boycott. I saw AP Honda on there and found that interesting given what they are. The rest of the sponorship list is also interesting given the lack of UK influence in some of the list. Ironically, AP Honda does sell a small number of motorcycles in the UK just like Chevy sells a small number of vehicles in the UK. But, their main markets are in Asia.

        Its safe to say neither one of us is a real SME in marketing in Asia but AP Honda is doing stuff like this around their sponsorship on Man U:


        Seems pretty smart and that’s the type of way a company uses such sponsorships beyond a sign in a stadium or a logo on a jersey.

        Maybe Bertel, with his advertising/marketing background and Asian knowledge, could weigh in with his thoughts on the effectiveness of Chevy marketing in that part of the world once the sponsorship kicks in.

        You are using the classic signs of someone losing a debate on a topic. Changing the subject and accusing your opponent of having his position based upon a bias. Facts are facts and I tend to stay in the fact area.

        Oh yeah, Chevy in Thailand in 2011?

        Chevy in Thailand in 2012?

  • avatar

    “MUST, which campaigns for greater fan involvement in the ownership of English soccer’s most successful club, has around 180,000 members and has fought a high-profile campaign against the Glazers.

    “However, a recent survey commissioned by the club estimated it had 659 million global followers – almost one in 10 of the population.”

    180,000 members of the MUST fan club, divided by 659 million fans of the team, equals MUST having a membership equal to 0.03% percent of the total fan base.

    I was going to say that this boycott has the same odds of success as manual transmission diesel station wagons have of achieving a sales breakthrough in the United States. But after seeing those numbers, I’d have to tip my hat to the station wagons for having a better chance.

  • avatar

    Who would they blame for this? They had already fired Ewanick… But the malevolent deity named Akerson surely demand some sacrifice…

  • avatar

    180,000 out of 659 Million fans. How will Chevy ever cope??? Yawn.

  • avatar
    Token White Guy

    Just out of curiosity: as a German, don’t you die a little inside, every time you use the word ‘soccer’?

  • avatar

    And in spite, all those who hate Man Utd and their glory-hunting fans go out and do the exact opposite (seriously, footy fans in the UK are like that).

  • avatar

    It’s all about the TV coverage and marketing mileage from having logo visibility and GM will get plenty of that.

  • avatar

    This boycott call is unlikely to have much impact in my opinion – so I dare say that Chevvy can sleep easy.

    However, some of the comments here are more than a little over-the-top. So lets give some background:

    Manchester United did not garner the largest group of supporters for any sport club in the world by confining themselves to any particular socio-economic group / geographic area. While the specific group proposing the boycott call is small – their concern about the current set-up has broader support.

    I understood the specific concern re the share issue was the owners plan to take 50% of the proceeds out of the company. This will still leave substantial debts on the club’s books (which arose from the way the owners financed their original take-over). The interest on these debts (which their competitors do not bear as their owners have financed the club by inserting equity rather than debt) is perceived to curtail the ability of the club to compete in the acquisition of world-class players.

    • 0 avatar

      You are right. I can recall when the Glazers firs bought Man Utd and then quickly paid themselves back by loading the company with debt that there was outrage. I would hope Man Utd fans would realise that the club needs sponsor to help finance the club, without the sponsors the club wouldn`t be able to acquire world-class players. So they are right to complain about the Glazers but all sponser are required.

      • 0 avatar

        Mike 978
        I think we are aligned.
        As an old guy I think that soccer has moved a long way from its ‘supporter-based’ roots – it is now big business with all that implies (including the need for sponsors).
        With the world-wide fan base Man U has, it can generate enough revenue to compete with any club, even those with ‘sugar-daddy’ owners. However, far from being a’sugar-daddy’, the Glazers are not even regarded as ‘benign’ owners – they have placed a major drain on the club’s finances, which means that a substantial portion of the revenues are not available to promote the quality of the soccer being played on the pitch.
        Certain supporters see the Glazer model as unnecessarily risky to the long term health of the club, and want them to change course. The challenge is how to put pressure on them? – one way is to try to hit them in their pocket book (which seems to be what motivates them – rather than a ‘love’ for Man U that the supporters have) – presumably the call for a boycott is an extension of that idea.
        A more idealised approach has been to set up a new club operating on ‘supporter-based’ principles. The result is FC United of Manchester – who had to start at the very bottom of the league structure in England and have already won three promotions. Five more promotions and they reach the Premier division (where Man U competes). If you support the underdog, look up the club here

  • avatar

    “Last Monday, GM signed a seven year contract with Manchester United.”

    A seven year deal? Too optimistic on Chevy’s part to think will be around for that long. That’s 5 more years than how long I expect them to be around.

  • avatar

    So, its a bunch of people campaigning to get a “voice” in a business they don’t own, and evidently have no intention of ever owning.

    Why doesn’t MUST just pool their cash and buy into the IPO? Seems that would do more good than boycotting a car brand that their country doesn’t even really buy anyway. $5,000 a piece would get them over 27% of the team, which would probably be enough to force a board seat.

    • 0 avatar
      Domestic Hearse


      MUST won’t get invited to the seat of an IPO because of the institutional nature of IPOs. The shares are sold by the corporation to a huge investment bank or firm. They, in turn, orchestrate the offering of those shares via the stock market to other big institutions in large percentages. Small potatoes investors, like the members of MUST, never get invited to the table. Super high net worth individuals may be given an opportunity, as might executives in the IPO-offering company. Remember FB going public? Outside the executives, every buyer of FB IPO shares were master-of-the-universe, too-big-to-fail type organizations. As for us individual investors, that was a good thing as even can’t-miss IPOs like FB can and do take an Initial Public Cratering. Now, as executives at FB and disappointed institutions dump depreciating FB shares, the public can buy in at a discount. (However, if you look in your 401k fund, don’t be surprised to learn you already indirectly own FB in some capacity).

      Look for ManU shares (down the road a ways) to be like “ownership” of the Green Bay Packers. Big fans will eventually find a way to buy their personal, single share which they will keep forever, passing it down father-to-son. It’s a financial purchase based solely on emotion, owned strictly out of loyalty, and has nothing to do with earnings. If the Glazers pull this off, it’ll be a crafty piece of high finance, given the huge world-wide fanbase of this club.

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