Chevrolet is finally launching one of its boldest and most controversial marketing efforts as the maker unveils Manchester United’s new home shirt, sporting the Chevy logo.
As part of Chevrolet’s partnership with the Manchester United, one of the world’s most famous sports franchises, fans can try on the new shirt with the Chevy logo digitally at www.ChevroletFC.com. The introduction of the new shirt kicks-off Chevrolet’s seven-year agreement as Manchester United’s shirt sponsor.
“Our presence on the new Manchester United home shirt is a highly anticipated moment for the club’s more than 659 million followers around the globe, and for the Chevrolet brand,” said Tim Mahoney, chief marketing officer, Global Chevrolet.
“From the beginning of our partnership with Manchester United more than two years ago, we pledged to bring fans closer the game. This celebration of the new shirt will honor that pledge by making them part of the unveiling.”
Chevrolet is launching the partnership with Manchester United just as interest in soccer or football as it’s known in England and the rest of the world has increased because of the World Cup, which is now heading towards a climax on July 13 in Brazil.
Manchester United is one of the top clubs in the English Premier League, which like Formula One racing, has an enormous following around the world because its international flavor.
Chevrolet also is releasing a video featuring Manchester United players, legends and fans. The video pays homage to the history of Manchester United shirts, dating from the club’s inception in 1878.
Manchester United’s Group Managing Director Richard Arnold described the partnership with Chevrolet as an historic event. “They officially become only our fifth shirt sponsor in 136 years,” he said
The video features Manchester United fans throughout history marching down the streets of Manchester, and singing the “Glory, Glory Man United” anthem. The fans arrive at Old Trafford, where current players Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata, Robin van Persie and David De Gea.
Celebrating its debut on the new shirt is one of several upcoming events highlighting Chevrolet’s partnership with Manchester United. On July 23, Manchester United will play its first match in the new Chevrolet-branded shirt against the L.A. Galaxy at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., in the Chevrolet Cup.
Chevrolet also will serve as the presenting sponsor of Manchester United’s Aug. 2 match versus Real Madrid at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which sold out completely in a matter of minutes.
Even though, GM decided to pull the Chevrolet brand from Europe to give the Opel brand more room to maneuver, Chevrolet will remain a major sponsor of Manchester United for the next seven years.
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With 60% of its sales outside the United States, Chevrolet looking to make an impact in other parts of the world, particularly in Asia where Manchester United has a huge following and Chevrolet hopes to grow its market share.
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Even with Chevrolet gone from Europe, the deal will help Chevrolet sell vehicles, Mahoney said. More than half of Manchester United’s followers on social media are in China, Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia where Chevrolet expects to expand sales, Mahoney said.
The $559 million marketing tie with Manchester United was controversial when it was negotiated by Joel Ewanick and ultimately led to Ewanick’s dismissal by then-Chairman Dan Akerson.
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The timing of the deal is fortuitous for Chevrolet and parent General Motors, as English Premier League soccer is strengthening its following among young fans in the U.S. as the new NBC Sports Network has begun broadcasting the games in the U.S.
Ewanick’s deal with Manchester United could begin to look like a genuine bargain in the next couple of years as the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, the NFL and the major collegiate football conference begin to negotiate new television deals, which are certain to drive up advertising rates.