Manchester United Chevrolet sponsorship mired in controversy from day one
The executive behind Manchester United‘s landmark shirt sponsorship deal with American car giant Chevrolet back in 2012 was ousted from his role over the way he handled the arrangement, according to both Reuters and Forbes.
National media reports today suggest that Chevrolet will not renew the seven-year arrangement when it expires at the end of next season – although the MEN understands that the club are not concerned about its ability to find a new partner.
Back in July 2012, Joel Ewanick, who served as global marketing chief of Chevrolet’s parent company General Motors, was let go from his role as the deal was announced, with GM insisting Ewanick had “failed to meet the expectations the company has of an employee.”
Initially, Chevrolet’s arrangement with Manchester United signed in June 2012 included serving only as the club’s official car partner.
But this moved forward rapidly, within six weeks in fact, to Chevrolet agreeing to take over from Manchester United‘s former shirt sponsor Aon, beginning in the 2014/15 season.
Sandwiching the two deals, GM ousted Ewanick, and Reuters claimed at the time this was over his handling of the Manchester United arrangements.
Reuters stated that after ousting Ewanick, GM was forced to reword certain terms of the kit sponsorship deal before unveiling it to the world in July 2012.
“Sources told Reuters that Ewanick failed to properly report financial details about a recent sponsorship deal with the club,” the media organisation reported.
“By many accounts, Ewanick’s biggest mistake seems to have been reaching an expensive agreement for Chevrolet to put its name on Man U jerseys without running all the details by GM’s senior management,” Micheline Maynard wrote for Forbes back in 2012.
Ewanick would later describe the Manchester United deal as a “no-brainer,” insisting that GM could hope to recoup “over four times” the sponsorship’s cost during its seven-year lifetime, mooted at around $600 million.
“We crunched more data than I’ve ever seen. We had three separate media and consulting firms take a look at it and tell us what they thought it was worth. We had the internal GM team do it,” Ewanick said of the sponsorship.