By Barry Janoff
July 30, 2012: While the world has its collective eyes on London and the 2012 Summer Olympics, General Motors continues its march into British soccer.
The U.S.-based automaker unveiled an extension to its recently signed deal between its Chevrolet division and Manchester United by nabbing one of the most coveted on-field spots in sports marketing: a seven-year pact to become the club's jersey-front sponsor beginning with the 2014-15 English Premier League season.
The news comes less than two months after Chevrolet signed a five-year deal to become Manchester United's global official auto partner, which already has launched. It also comes a week after Chevrolet signed a separate four-year pact to become the official car sponsor for Liverpool FC, also in the EPL.
And it happened a day after Joel Ewanick, GM's CEO since 2010, parted ways with the company, either via resignation or having been fired, according to various reports.
Chevrolet will replace 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.
"This is a fantastic, long-term deal for the club. We have been partners with Chevrolet for only six weeks, but already they have produced some fantastic ideas that will benefit both the partnership and our 659 million followers around the world," Richard Arnold, Manchester United's commercial director, said in a statement. "They are a key partner on our current tour [in the U.S.] and I know they have enjoyed experiencing the buzz generated by our fanatical support and the sell-out crowds in South Africa, China, and Europe."
"This relationship is about connecting our brand with the deep-seated emotion that surrounds the team everywhere it goes."
According to Alan Batey, vp for GM North America U.S. sales and service, "This relationship is about connecting our brand with the deep-seated emotion that surrounds the team everywhere it goes. When you consider the core values of Chevrolet, our passionate customers around the world, and our rich 100-year history, the partnership with Manchester United is a perfect fit. And, to be only the fifth name on the iconic red jersey is a genuine honor. We very much look forward to the road ahead and the opportunities we have in partnering with such a legendary club."
The franchise came under controlling interest of Malcolm Glazer in 2005, who also is majority owner of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Manchester United's other marketing partners include Nike, DHL, Turkish Airlines, Thomas Cook, Smirnoff, Singha beer and Epson office equipment.
U.S.-based Delta Air Line recently signed a multi-year alliance with Chelsea FC of the EPL.
"It is a great thrill for those of us who work with partners all year round when an existing partner steps up to being one of our principal partners," added Arnold. "This commitment to United and its fans will bring real benefits to everyone who cares about the club."
General Motors Scores Deal With Manchester United
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