DETROIT, July 30 (Reuters) - General Motors Co signed
a sponsorship deal with Manchester United valued at as much as
nearly $600 million one day after the U.S. automaker's global
marketing chief was ousted in connection with a deal with the
popular English soccer club.
Under the seven-year deal, which makes Chevrolet the jersey
sponsor starting in the 2014-2015 season, GM will pay $60
million to $70 million a year -- at least double the current fee
paid by insurance broker Aon, said a person with
knowledge of the contract who asked not to be identified. GM
also will pay the club a $100 million activation fee, the person
GM and Manchester United officials declined to reveal terms
of the deal, which is separate from another sponsorship
agreement announced in May with Manchester United. Terms of that
five-year deal were not disclosed, but analysts said it is
likely worth at least tens of millions of dollars.
GM also declined to discuss why global marketing chief Joel
Ewanick was pushed out on Sunday. A GM spokesman previously said
Ewanick, who has declined to comment on why he left, "failed to
meet the expectations that the company has for its employees."
A source told Reuters that Ewanick failed to properly report
financial details about a recent sponsorship deal with the
soccer club. It was unclear which deal that refers to as GM on
May 31 said it would take over as Manchester United's automotive
sponsor, replacing Volkswagen's Audi brand.
Manchester United's current jersey sponsorship deal is with
Aon, which pays $30 million a year for the right to put its name
on the front of jerseys worn by players during games. That
practice is quite lucrative for soccer clubs around the world,
but is not allowed by most U.S. sports leagues.