General Motors Co. (GM), which dropped Super Bowl advertising in May because it’s too expensive, doubled its portfolio of Premier League soccer sponsorships by adding Liverpool two months after signing Manchester United.
The world’s largest carmaker signed an accord yesterday for its Chevrolet brand to be 18-time English league champion Liverpool’s official automotive partner.
Liverpool, which last won the league championship in 1990, finished eighth in the 20-team Premier League last season though won the Carling Cup and reached the F.A. Cup final. The deal with Liverpool is for four years, one fewer than a similar agreement with record 19-time champion United in late May.
“Liverpool supporters from around the world are known for their undying love of their side,” Global Chevrolet Marketing Vice President Chris Perry said in a statement announcing the pact that runs through the 2015-16 season. “Our relationship with Liverpool FC extends beyond the traditional boundaries of sponsorship and is about engaging with supporters.”
Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
Liverpool is one of the world’s most closely followed teams, with official fan groups in cities ranging from New York to Beijing. Its 81.5 million pound ($126.5 million) worldwide partnership with bank Standard Chartered Plc (STAN) was made as a result of the team’s popularity in Asia, the bank has said.
In late May, Paul Edwards, GM’s executive director of global marketing strategy, said the company had signed with Manchester United because of the global opportunities presented by the soccer team.
“We recognized that it’s not only the world’s biggest sport, but also the world’s most engaged fans,” he said.
The soccer agreements follow GM’s decision to halt paid advertising on Facebook Inc. (FB)’s social-networking website and forgo next year’s Super Bowl championship game of the National Football League in the U.S. The moves are among the first steps of Chief Marketing Officer Joel Ewanick’s efforts to revamp Chevrolet’s marketing with a new global agency and save $2 billion over five years.
Ewanick told reporters when the United deal was announced that the Super Bowl had become too expensive, saying “enough is enough, you have to pull back.”
Liverpool remains a team in transition, a long way from its glory years in the 1970s and 1980s when it won the majority of its championships and all but one of its five European Cups, a record for a British team. The team, which shares its ownership group with Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox, is currently touring North America and will meet Italy’s AS Roma (ASR) on July 28 at Fenway Park in Boston before playing English Premier League rival Tottenham Hotspur in Baltimore. It tied Toronto FC in its first tour match.
“Partnerships with blue-chip brands like Chevy will help ensure the long-term growth and success of our club, both on and off the pitch,” Liverpool Managing Director Ian Ayre said in a news release.
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