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Brandi Chastain


August 14, 2012
Chevy’s plunge into soccer making corporate waves
By Charles Cuttone
Executive Editor

Manchester United will have a different corporate sponsor on its jersey when Chevrolet takes over in 2012
Manchester United will have a different corporate sponsor on its jersey when Chevrolet takes over in 2012
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Chevrolet has jumped into English soccer in a big way, cutting several recent deals that may have caused some internal strife within the company.

Just weeks after announcing a major sponsorship deal with Manchester United, Chevy inked a similar deal with Liverpool, giving the American auto brand sponsorship of two of England's biggest soccer brands.

The deal with Liverpool runs to the end of the 2015/16 Barclays Premier League and European campaigns, and includes visibility for the brand at Anfield, Liverpool's home ground; editorial opportunities within the Club's print and digital publications and fan sites; and player appearances for commercial opportunities. Chevrolet also became an official sponsor of the Club's Pre Season Tour, which included three games in the U.S.

Chevy, a division of General Motors, then surprised observers by scooping up Manchester United's shirt front sponsorship. Under the seven-year deal, the automaker will pay $559 million, more than double the previous deal the team had with American insurer AON. Chevy will take over the sponsorship starting with the 2014-15 season, when the current deal with AON runs out. It is worth about $70 million a year to the club according to its recent public filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The price of the deal and the manner in which it was executed by Chevrolet, at least according to some reports, cost company marketing chief Joel Ewanick his job. Reuters reported on Wednesday that he split the sponsorship among several budgets in order to avoid company reporting policies.

The deal is part of a flurry of activity for the Manchester club, as well as the automaker, which is trying to establish itself as a global brand.

Manchester United, already a global brand, signed a new deal with AON making the company title sponsor of the club's business-to-business program. It also recently signed a deal with Pattni Imaginations for action figures of Man United players, and the aforementioned filing with the SEC has led to an IPO for the parent company. Man United began trading shares on the New York Stock Exchange for $14, in an offering that it hoped would raise in the neighborhood of $300 million while allowing the Glazer family to sell off only 10% of the club. The IPO fell short, raising $233.3 million.

TV deal for Chivas
Univision Deportes will become the U.S. home of Chivas de Guadalajara. The deal will grant Univision Deportes the rights to all of Chivas’ Liga MX, Copa Mexico and worldwide friendlies.

In addition to Chivas, Univision holds exclusive U.S. media rights to the home games of Toluca, Pumas de la UNAM, Monterrey, Tigres de la UANL, América, Pachuca, Tijuana, Santos, San Luis, Queretaro, Atlas and Atlante, plus away games for the rest of the league’s teams.

FOX Soccer has signed a new four-year agreement to broadcast the CONCACAF Gold Cup and CONCACAF Champions League. The agreement starts with the current CONCACAF Champions League season, continuing through the 2015-2016 edition of the tournament. The deal also covers the 2013 and 2015 Gold Cups.

EA Sports adds Spurs
Electronic Arts Inc and Tottenham Hotspur have agreed to a three-year partnership that will make EA SPORTS the Official Video Game Partner of the English Premier League club.

Over the course of the partnership, Tottenham Hotspur and EA will develop a range of initiatives to entertain and engage fans both at White Hart Lane, the club’s home pitch, and more widely across their media channels. This includes exclusive videos featuring Tottenham Hotspur players, the ability for fans to predict match outcomes using the EA SPORTS game engine, and exclusive tournament footage taken from the club’s Training Center to determine the best FIFA 13 player in the squad.

In addition, EA SPORTS will create a special Tottenham Hotspur game packaging sleeve for FIFA 13, which fans will be able to download from the club website prior to the game's launch.

At selected home matches over the course of the season, the EA SPORTS Dugout, a mobile gaming trailer, will be on-site so fans can play EA SPORTS games.

Tottenham Hotspur joins seven other English Premier League teams that have become club partners with EA SPORTS. The other club partners are Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Everton, Fulham, Newcastle, and Manchester City.

Business moves
The Colorado Rapids named David Burke, an executive with extensive ticketing experience in professional sports, Chief Revenue Officer. In his role with the Rapids, Burke will serve on the executive team and oversee ticket sales and service, including premium ticketing.

Burke joins the Rapids from the Houston Aeros, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, where he has served as the club’s President since August of 2011. Burke was in charge of day-to-day business operations of the Aeros front office, and during his time, attendance increased 21% and the team was recognized with five AHL team awards including Most Unique Sponsorship Package.

The New York Red Bulls parted ways with President of Business Operations Chris Heck.

Hired in June, 2011, Heck replaced Erik Stover in the role of General Manager, handling the daily operations of the team. During his nearly 14 months with the franchise, he drew criticism for reorganizing the seating pricing for season ticket holders.

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