By Barry Janoff
July 2, 2014: In May 2012, General Motors division Chevrolet signed a five-year deal to become the official global automotive partner for the Manchester United football club.
Two months later, Chevrolet unveiled an extension the deal that not only extended the alliance for two years but also gave the carmaker a coveted position as the club's jersey-front sponsor beginning, with the 2014-15 English Premier League season. The pact was valued at $90 million, according to industry analysts.
That day has arrived, and Chevrolet is launching a multi-media campaign to support its debut on the club's new home shirt. The push includes TV, Internet, social media and a digital experience in which Manchester United is enabling its worldwide allegiance of fans "to virtually wear and share the new shirt via their social channels."
The effort is part of Chevrolet's "What Do You #PlayFor?" global campaign, which "brings fans closer to the sport and celebrates the passion for play around the game."
"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," Tim Mahoney, CMO, Global Chevrolet, said in a statement. "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."
Manchester United is considered to be the most valuable sports franchise in the world, valued in excess of $2.2 billion, according to Forbes. The club is majority owned by the family of the late Malcom Glazer, which also owns the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
On July 23, Manchester United is scheduled to play its first match in the new Chevrolet-branded shirt against the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer in the Chevrolet Cup, taking place the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
Chevrolet will also serve as the presenting sponsor of Manchester United's Aug. 2 friendly match versus Real Madrid at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich.
In addition, Chevrolet said has plans for a "memorable fan moment" at Manchester United's 2014-15 opening Barclays English Premier League match on the weekend of Aug. 16-17 against Swansea City FC.
Chevrolet is replacing current jersey sponsor Aon insurance, whose alliance with the club began with 2010-11 season. The auto brand be the fifth jersey sponsor in Manchester United's 134-year history.
Other ManU marketing patners include Nike, DHL, Bulova, Aeroflot, Epson and Singha.
The support spot allows fans and neophytes alike to relive that history. It pays homage to every Manchester United shirt, dating from the club's inception in 1878. On July 7, the full video will be released to celebrate Chevrolet's debut on the new shirt.
The 30-second and longer spots feature the club's fans \from Day One through 2014 marching down the streets of Manchester singing the "Glory, Glory Man United" anthem. They eventually arrive at Old Trafford Stadium, where current players Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata, Robin van Persie and David De Gea and assistant manager Ryan Giggs join them.
Nine Manchester United legends also appear in the spot: Sir Bobby Charlton, Alex Stepney, Denis Law, Lou Macari, Arthur Albiston, Norman Whiteside, Clayton Blackmore, Denis Irwin and Gary Pallister.
The video features Manchester United fans throughout history marching down the streets of Manchester, and singing the "Glory, Glory Man Utd" anthem. The fans eventually arrive at Old Trafford, where current players Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata, Robin van Persie and David De Gea, and assistant manager Ryan Giggs join them. The video ends before the shirt is seen, building anticipation for its July 7 debut.
Nine Manchester United legends also appear in the video: Sir Bobby Charlton, Alex Stepney, Denis Law, Lou Macari, Arthur Albiston, Norman Whiteside, Clayton Blackmore, Denis Irwin and Gary Pallister. (See the full spot here.)
According to Richard Arnold Manchester United's group managing director, "[This] is an historic [occasion] for our partnership with Chevrolet as they officially become only our fifth shirt sponsor in [the club's history]. It is apt then, that as we look to the future, Chevrolet is honoring the club's past and involving our supporters in such an intimate way."
General Motors Drives Chevrolet To Global Deal With ManU
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