I think it was George Will who once said that rooting for the Yankees was like rooting for General Motors. This was obviously a while ago before General Motors came to resemble the Chicago Cubs more than the Yankees—after all, the Yankees still win a lot of games, while General Government Motors, not so much.
Forget baseball, though. The Yankees/General Motors of the soccer world is Paul’s beloved Manchester United, and lo and behold, it seems there’s a connection between the two that may have cost GM’s marketing manager his job:
General Motors fired its chief marketing officer, Joel Ewanick, saying he failed to live up to the company’s “expectations.” Those expectations seem to be related to GM’s recent deal to sponsor Manchester United, the world’s richest sports team.
Today, GM announced a deal to put Chevrolet’s name on Man U jerseys, starting in 2014. The value was “undisclosed” but Reuters says the seven-year agreement is worth nearly $600 million, or $60 million to $70 million a year.
Personally, if I was a ManU fan, I’d be very concerned that the franchise was accepting sponsorship from GM. A sure sign that the club’s best days are behind it.
And if we’re going to cover soccer anyway, why can’t it be more like this:
PAUL RESPONDS: Thanks for the shout-out to soccer, Steve. Actually, I’m an Everton fan. Our team is so strapped for cash that we’d be delighted to do the GM deal. Heck, we’d probably do one with Solyndra.
As for Man U, it will be nice to have an American company on their jerseys, instead of the Arab and Chinese outfits we increasingly see at various clubs (Everton shirts have featured a Chinese beer company).
The only thing better would be to see no corporate names at all, as in America. But, as in other realms, America will moving towards the British model on this, I fear.