DETROIT: The ouster of General Motors (GM) Co’s global marketing chief is related to a hugely expensive sponsorship deal with England’s Manchester United soccer club, for which GM is paying twice as much as the team’s previous automotive sponsor.
On Monday, GM, the biggest US automaker, announced its Chev-rolet brand would sponsor the hugely popular club’s shirts for the next seven years. The deal is worth USD 60 million to USD 70 million a year and includes a USD 100 million activation fee that brings the total value to as much as USD 600 million, said a person with knowledge of the contract who asked not to be identified .
By comparison, insurance broker Aon Plc pays about USD 31 million a year for the current jersey sponsorship, which runs through the 2013-14 season.
GM did not disclose financial terms of its agreement, which was announced the day after the Detroit company said it was removing
its Global Marketing Chief, Joel Ewanick, because he failed to meet the expectations that the company has for its employees. Sources told Reuters Ewanick did not properly report financial details about the jersey deal.
Another source said the wording of the affected deal terms was changed before it was made public. GM, which spent almost USD 4.5 billion on advertising last year, announced another sponsorship deal with Manchester United in May. GM had said it wanted to
tap into Manchester United’s esti-mated 659 million fans around the world to boost the image of the Chevy brand. Last week, GM also said it signed a four-year auto sponsorship deal with Manchester United rival Liverpool.