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 said.
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.