By on February 12, 2014

Manchester United Squad Attend Chevrolet Event

Chevrolet’s $600 million sponsorship deal with major football club Manchester United may have been a match made in heaven, but with Man U’s performance on the pitch as of late, the deal is now on the highway to hell according to Automotive News.

The deal, written up by then-head of General Motors marketing Joel Ewanick to connect the two brands at the end of the 2012 season, was done due to Man U’s cachet with not only the English Premier League’s viewership — 643 million households in 212 countries — but also with the European Champions League tournament’s 360 million households. Though the Bow Tie has little presence in Europe beyond the Corvette — and would have trampled upon Opel/Vauxhall’s turf — the club’s fans in the Asia-Pacific market was prime for the taking in Ewanick’s mind.

Reality for the deal, however, hasn’t panned out as well as first hoped. The sin of omission committed by Ewanick regarding the sponsorship led to his sacking just as Man U’s long-serving coach Sir Alex Ferguson passed the torch to former Everton FC leader/miracle worker David Moyes.  As AN’s Mark Rechtin notes, things have not been the same since Fergusons departure. The club suffered from internal conflict in the locker room, second-guessing from the English sporting media, indecision on starting lineups, and losses to other clubs they would normally dominate if not outright destroy.

Furthermore, the club is currently seventh place in the overall EPL standings with no signs of improving to pass Everton, Tottenham and Liverpool to reach fourth and gain a qualifying position in the Champions League. Without that golden ticket, Man U will land in the oft-ignored Europa League, a marketing dead zone for any brand, let alone Chevrolet.

Finally, Man U may need to sell their star-studded lineup to make payroll, stripping away the cachet that had attracted Ewanick to pen the sponsorship deal in the first place. Not that it matters much if fans weren’t buying what Chevrolet was selling in the first place.

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35 Comments on “$600 Million Manchester United, Chevrolet Deal Going From Bad To Worse...”

  • avatar

    Ebonic was an unmitigated disaster, a pompous jackass that in reality was grossly over-rated. Alan Batey is no better. (see today’s he has failed repeatedly and should have been shown the door along with Steve Hill and the other worthless, clueless executives who have accomplished absolutely zero, other than loss of more more market share.


    • 0 avatar

      Batey formerly of Holden is English, so ManU and promoting Chevrolet was a good idea at the time.
      Then someone realized that “Chevrolet” was undercutting Vauxhall and Opel in their home markets and they decided to elimimate Chevrolet from Europe.
      Now ManU is have a hard year and the whole deal is a total disaster.

    • 0 avatar
      morbo ?

      sorry, the internal tech editor in me.

      On a side note, do you have a counterpart in the Bizzaro Universe named “HoldenMan”. He works to lower trade tariffs and increase costs for local factories, while exporting low tech / high cost vehicles.

  • avatar

    The deal sounds about as desirable as the new Malibu is.

    GM got suckered again, just like it did with the $2 billion Fiat payout in 2005.

  • avatar

    Wouldn’t it have been much more advantageous to advertise like, Opel, or Vauxhall, or Cadillac – as they’re going to pull Chevrolet from Europe?

    • 0 avatar

      It is a running joke that no one in Manchester actually supports Manchester United; they are huge in Asia and, much to my dismay, every American footie fan seems to be a United fan. Chevy on the front of the shirts has little to do with United as a UK brand but as a global brand. My favorite team, Arsenal, has Fly Emirates across the front of their shirts, for example. Only the clubs that have a UK centric following tend to have sponsors that largely tie with the product in the UK. Those clubs are usually way, way, way smaller than some team like Chelsea, United, Arsenal, or Liverpool. They are also almost always sponsored by gambling sites or beer companies.

      I just hope Arsenal destroys United tonight. It has been a tough 10 years as an Arsenal fan.

      • 0 avatar

        “Chevy on the front of the shirts has little to do with United as a UK brand but as a global brand.”

        Pretty much. This was about Asia, particularly China, far moreso than it was about Europe. Most Europeans are supporting other teams that compete against Man United.

        The US doesn’t have any equivalent to this sort of global sports team that transcends location.

        • 0 avatar

          The Dallas Cowboys is probably as close as we come. Maybe the Yankees. But they don’t play American football or baseball overseas.

          • 0 avatar

            I know what you mean, but those teams are world famous in America. I’m not sure that anyone outside of North America cares about either team, particularly the Cowboys.

            I would hazard a guess that a couple of the basketball teams such as the Lakers may have a little bit — and I mean just a little bit — of this sort of global star power. But it’s nothing like what Man United has. Man United is a sort of global branding icon, like Coca Cola.

          • 0 avatar

            Outside of being mentioned on this blog, few would know they exist outside NA.

          • 0 avatar

            I’ve seen international news stories that showed locals on the street wearing caps with the big “NY” on them; never noticed any other US sports logos.

          • 0 avatar

            I would give the credit to rap music and the fact that NY is on the cap, more so than to the team. New York City is itself a global icon.

            If there is one American sport that is suitable for export, then it’s probably basketball. Michael Jordan may deserve the credit for that; he’s one of those guys who like Beckham, is well known globally.

          • 0 avatar

            “I’ve seen international news stories that showed locals on the street wearing caps with the big “NY” on them”

            Trendy slogans like “I love NY” you will see them or even US NFL Jerseys as fashion statements. The best was US 1960’s Hot Rodder artist Von Dutch who everyone wore on their T Shirts but no one had a clue who he was.

          • 0 avatar

            The Indians’ Chief Wahoo has been popular in South Korea the past couple of times I was there. They have an 8-team professional baseball league, so it’s a well-known game. Quite a few Yankees hats also.

      • 0 avatar

        Try being a Liverpool fan. The jerseys are just as crappy as the team’s recent performances.

  • avatar

    I don’t know much about soccer, but why make a deal with a car company that will go defunct in your country?

    • 0 avatar

      You don`t need to know that much about football/soccer, just reading comprehension. As stated Manchester United have the majority of their “fans” outside of the UK. With estimates that half are in Asia – where Chevy is alive and well. So it does make sense.
      People don`t sponsor AC Milan just to get to the Milan market!

      Man Utd are not doing well now, but they have over the past 20 years been one of the top 3 teams in the UK consistently. So it made sense on that basis – even if GBP600 million was a lot to pay. It is an 8 year contract (2014 to 2021). Let’s see how Man Utd do the other 7 years.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    600 million? Isn’t that just about what it would have cost to develop a world-class car instead of relying on a vague association to a famous football team?

  • avatar

    So what you’re saying is, Chevy should have invested in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

  • avatar

    I’m nominating Mitsubishi as the official car of the Cubs.

    The good news is that this should cost Mitsubishi no more than $150 or so…plus a case of Old Style.

  • avatar

    It was always risky and expensive, but right now it looks bad, because ot 2 things – it looks like they won´t play CL next seeason – i still think they would remain top 4 team and play CL other seasons so don´t make from this end of the world, but Chevy brand will dissapear from Europe in 2015, yes the deal was make for growing Asia, but still, it is joke to have Chevrolet logo on your jersey and in your region EU – that auto brand is not avalaible – – i still think this can be chantged i mean the deal i think made GM, chevrolet is just brand so let Chevy logo on jersey but let Opel-Vauxhall for their european advertising use Manchester United as partners and so on – simply in their commercials they can use their name, or change the deal home matches – chevy brand – away matches Opel-Vauxhall – or something like that it can be changed and United will remain top European club anyway

    • 0 avatar

      This latest GM embarrassment means Mary Barra must prove that she can play hard ball like the big boys. Perhaps Joel Ewanick should “disappear” to wherever it is in Michigan that Jimmy Hoffa went?

      For all their good product moves of late, GM NEVER seems to really learn at the top. The next time out, I really hope the U.S. government views GM the way Maggie Thatcher viewed British Leyland in the late Seventies.

  • avatar

    What a completely stupid way to squander $600 million dollars. That money could have gone toward developing a viable new product for Opel/Vauxhall instead. Decisions like this are why GM went bankrupt in the first place. And this dumb idea was implemented AFTER the bankruptcy. Shameful. Same as it ever was.

  • avatar

    For everyone saying that it is a problem b/c Chevy isn’t local, I don’t think it does matter. When Yu Darvish pitches for the Rangers, you see advertisements in the back stop for Japan. Why? Because when Yu Darvish pitches, you can watch the game in Japan. Not any of the other Rangers games, but that one, yes.

    It would mean more if the local brand was the same, but unlike Texas Rangers/Yu Darvish situation, the bulk of Man U viewers aren’t in Europe.

  • avatar

    I think the magnitude of Man U’s situation is a touch overblown – their revenues are up so an fire-sale of players to make payroll is unlikely. They also just broke their transfer record on Juan Mata, a clearly world-class player, who signed despite the lack of Champions League games on the horizon.

    Those facts don’t stop this being a terrible deal for Chevrolet though – $600 million didn’t even get their logo on the jersey.

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