General Motors decided to drop its football advertising and replace it with football advertising.
Instead of running advertisements in the one-day-a-year Super Bowl, GM will devote some of its strategic marketing and advertising budget with Manchester United, the 19-time winner of the English Premier Football League title.
GM signed a five-year deal with ManU; Chevrolet logos will appear on Manchester’s bench and player’s sideline chairs. There will also be in-stadium advertising and player endorsement opportunities. Both U.S. and overseas dealerships are allowed to display Manchester United’s logo, too.
Before you freak out and scream about the Benedict Arnoldnishness of GM’s move, consider the following:
- 3.5 billion people are considered soccer fans. The NFL can only claim 400 million.
- Manchester United sells more jerseys than the 32 NFL teams COMBINED.
- Manchester United games are broadcast in 1.15 billion homes, or 80 percent of the world’s households with televisions.
GM was emphatic in clarifying that it will not decrease its advertising with the NFL or in the U.S. They actually plan on increasing spending on football, and will remain the NFL’s largest advertiser.
So it’s not treason! Really.
It’s impossible to argue against this as a wise decision for a car company trying to become the global leader. And it’s impossible to argue that soccer hasn’t arrived here in the U.S., as ESPN and Fox and NBC are all broadcasting meaningful games, devoting more coverage to the sport, and promoting it like never before. MLS ratings are up (that’s Major League Soccer), and player’s salaries are starting to inch up, too (though average salaries are only $33,750, players making six figures jumped to 226 from only 103 five years ago).
Just look at what our home-grown talent can do:
Go ahead and despise ManU for their New York and Miami Heat-ish sport villainy ways, but don’t hate GM for making a smart business move. And try to love the sport; it’s the best!