Chevrolet Fires The Guy Responsible For Sponsorship Deal With Manchester United

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Written By Chris Azzopardi

Chevy, the biggest name in the General Motors family, just signed on as Manchester United’s shirt sponsor for a seven year run starting in 2014/15. But the shirt sponsorship is actually a step back from Chevy’s original deal, a deal that got the marketing exec responsible for it fired.

Chevrolet signed a five year deal to become a Man United sponsor back in May. That deal specifically did not include shirt sponsorship, though it did call for seats to be branded with the Chevy logo, Chevy cars to become official team vehicles, and players to make appearances at Chevy events. The deal was a clear move on the part of the American car maker to expand its profile around the world by tapping into United’s massive foreign fan base. It was reported to be worth $600 million in total.

The man who put that deal together was marketing chief Joel Ewanick, who is now without a job. Dissatisfied with the plan and its cost, senior GM execs have dismissed Ewanick and altered the original sponsorship to include the jersey frontage. Ewanick’s aim was to revitalize the image of the company, an effort which included the United deal. GM leadership asked for Ewanick’s resignation after they determined he had not been clear about details relating to the true cost.

Per Bloomberg news sources, the jersey sponsorship will cost the automaker £25 million ($39 million) a year. AON, the current shirt sponsor, paid about £20 million ($31.4 million) for the right.

The best guess is that the jersey deal actually represents a step back in total cost of the Chevy’s sponsorship. GM leaders, some of who probably didn’t know the difference between Manchester United and Manchester City before the original deal was announced, likely flipped out when they were told that deal did not include shirt sponsorship. If you’re going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a soccer deal, it has to include the shirt, right?

First United fans learn Chevrolet will become the team’s shirt sponsor. It’s a fine name, but hardly a prestigious brand befitting the world’s biggest club. Then they learn that half the money from the Manchester United American IPO will go to the Glazers (those bastards). Oh well, at least they have Alex Morgan.

Sources: Yahoo! , Wall Street Journal

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