Chevrolet playing ball with Manchester United
(CBS News/WWJ) The Super Bowl may be a big deal here in the states, but General Motors has its eyes on a different kind of football. Weeks after announcing that they would not be running any ads in the Super Bowl this year, GM announced it would be partnering with English Premier League giant Manchester United in a five year deal that would see Chevrolet logos plastered all over one of the most famous soccer teams in the world.
"Six hundred sixty million people say they follow them," says GM Global Marketing Vice President Joel Ewanick. "There's only, what, three hundred thirty million Americans."
The Chevy sponsorship is a five year deal, and will include Chevrolet logos on the bench and sideline chairs, in-stadium advertising, and player endorsements. The logo won't go on the player's jerseys.
"The world automotive industry is growing," Ewanick told CBS affiliate WWJ auto reporter Jeff Gilbert. "As a company, we can't be so focused on Jefferson Avenue. We have to be focused on what's happening in downtown Shanghai and Sao Paulo and Frankfurt."
The deal also includes the creation of the "Chevrolet China Cup" that will feature Manchester United exhibition matches in several Chinese cities. The carmaker is also partnering with the "One World Futbol Project" - a company that produces nearly indestructible soccer balls. GM will donate 1.5 million of these balls to young people in impoverished countries around the world.
GM has stated that they are not cutting their U.S. advertising budget. But the focus on Manchester United speaks to the company's goal of making Chevrolet a global brand. So it makes sense to join forces with a global powerhouse like Manchester United, which was recently named by Forbes magazine as the most valuable sports club in the world.
"Their jersey sales just for Manchester United outsell every single jersey sold by the NFL in a given year," said GM's Joel Ewanick.