General Motors’ Chevrolet brand and British soccer team Manchester United are set to partner up in what could be a lucrative deal for the American automaker and record 19-times Premier League champions.
Automotive News reports GM has scheduled a press announcement for Thursday for both Chevrolet and Manchester United in Shanghai, during which Joel Ewanick, GM’s chief marketing officer, will also hold a briefing at GM’s headquarters in Detroit in regards to a new global sports marketing campaign.
General Motors’ marketing strategy has gathered quite the attention lately, subsequently causing more than a few eyebrows to be raised. The company recently ended its paid advertising campaign with social media giant Facebook right before announcing it would not advertise during next year’s Super Bowl.
Of course a sponsorship deal Manchester United could prove rather lucrative given the club’s international stature and recognition, especially in Asia where the Red Devils enjoy massive popularity. In fact, according to a study carried out by market research company Kantar last year, Manchester United’s 659 million global fan base cement the team’s position as the “most popular club” in the world. The study surveyed a total of 54,000 people across 39 countries with each being asked which team – or teams – they supported.
“Our followers have doubled in five years,” Manchester United’s commercial director Richard Arnold told reporters in London on Tuesday. “It’s important to the club, not only for commercial partnerships: It gives us a road map to understand exactly what’s going on.”
No doubt General Motors will look to capitalize on the team’s popularity by transforming sponsorship dollars into sales. Last year, Chevrolet sold a record 4.76 million vehicles globally with the Chevy Cruze leading the charge. But while Chevrolet remains one of the biggest names in the American automotive industry, the same cannot be said for the company’s presence in Europe, where the brand enjoys an abysmal 1.5 percent market share.
It is unknown at this time just how much the sponsorship between Chevrolet and Manchester United will equate to once all is said and done, when it will take into effect, or in exactly what capacity.
In 2010, insurance mega firm Aon replaced American insurance company AIG as the club’s principal sponsor in a then record-deal worth £80 million over four years.