General Motors cites audience, impact in Manchester United deal image

U.S. based carmaker General Motors said European soccer has a much larger global fan base than American football – and this is the main reason why the company believes a five-year deal with Manchester United will boost Chevrolet’s global brand visibility and sales.

As part of its five-year deal with Manchester United, Chevrolet will explore several activations intended to bring supporters closer to the club, including sharing with fans some of the assets Chevrolet receives as a sponsor. Ultimately, the intent is to put the fans at the center of the partnership and provide them once in a lifetime access to the game they love.

GM is hoping to piggyback on Manchester United’s fan base of an estimated 659 million people to boost its Chevy brand, especially in such growing Asian car markets as China, where the soccer club has 108 million fans.

Under the soccer deal, Chevrolet’s bowtie logo will appear on Manchester United’s team benches and in its stadium. It won’t be on the team’s jerseys. GM also gets access to players, who will attend events and serve as spokesmen for Chevrolet.

“If our aspirations are to build global icon status for Chevrolet … soccer far and away is the world’s biggest sport,” Paul Edwards, GM executive director of global marketing strategy, said in an interview.

The agreement follows GM’s decision this month to halt paid advertising on Facebook and forgo next year’s Super Bowl championship game of the National Football League in the U.S.

GM, which owns Chevy, Opel and other car brands, still plans to spend $4US billion globally on advertising this year, the same amount as last year. Mr Edwards said regional spending also will remain steady.
The Manchester United deal “doesn’t mean we’re walking away from Major League Baseball here in the US, or the National Football League“, he said