Manchester Utd unites with Chevrolet

GM-owned automotive brand replaces Audi as Manchester United’s automotive sponsor in five-year deal.

Manchester United

The deal, which is being announced later today (31 May), sees Chevrolet replace luxury car manufacturer Audi, who became the club’s first ever automotive sponsor in 2004.

Richard Arnold, Manchester United’s commercial director says the partnership aims to bring Chevrolet’s fans “closer” to the club.

He adds: This is also the first time we have teamed up with a U.S. automotive partner and with the growing popularity of the club and English football in America, we are hoping the relationship will allow us to further expand our fan base in the country.”

As part of the deal, Chevrolet’s logo will appear on signs, scoreboards and player benches at the club’s Old Trafford stadium, as well as on backdrops and chairs during interviews.

The 19-time English Premier League champions now has 659m followers, according to research firm Kantar, making it the world’s “most popular club.”

For Chevrolet, the deal provides a chance to raise its profile outside of the US, particularly across Europe and Asia.

Chevrolet plans to “explore several activations” across different channels such as social media and mobile as it looks to bolster the first phase of its new marketing strategy.

Joel Ewanick, chief marketing officer at GM, says the car marque’s association with football is part of its efforts to become a global brand.

He adds: “”Few brands, if any, can match the ability to inspire people everywhere as Manchester United.

“Our ambition is to connect with football in a fashion that transcends traditional sponsorship. We want to bring to life the deep appreciation we have for the game by celebrating the best that football has to offer and introducing uncommon opportunities for fans to immerse themselves in the game.”

Separately, Chevrolet will look to replicate the success airline Emirates has had in the UK with its sponsorship of Arsenal’s pre-season tournament The Emirates Cup, by creating the Chevrolet China Cup as part of Manchester United 2012 pre-season tour.

Chevrolet is also sponsoring the One World Futbol Project, which aims to invest in grassroots football in impoverished regions around the world.

The deal comes in the year that Chevrolet has looked to revamp its marketing by overhauling its advertising agency roster and choosing not to run ads during next year’s Superbowl. The measures are part of a business drive to save $2bn (£1.3bn) over the next five years.

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