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GM set to announce partnership between Chevy and Manchester United

The new venture comes just weeks after GM declared that it would be altering its marketing strategy, which included pulling ads from Facebook and the 2013 Super Bowl.

General Motors is getting ready to announce a new marketing venture between its Chevrolet brand and the Manchester United soccer team. GM will reportedly reveal the new affiliation in Shanghai on Thursday. GM’s big announcement will be followed by a briefing at the company’s Detroit headquarters led by Joel Ewanick, chief marketing officer of GM. The partnership between Chevrolet and Manchester United marks the automaker’s first advertising news since the report that it would no longer advertise on Facebook and on the Super Bowl.

The sponsorship deal should be a win-win for the Chevrolet brand. One of the most celebrated teams in English Premiere League history, Manchester United has won a record 19 English soccer championships. Founded in 1878 as the Newton Health LYR Football Club, the club changed its name to Manchester United in 1902. The team is based in Old Trafford, where it moved to in 1910.

According to a 2011 Kantar study, Manchester United is the “most popular club” in the world with 659 million followers. The study surveyed 54,000 people in 39 countries, asking each individual which team or teams they followed.

"Our followers have doubled in five years," said Richard Arnold, Manchester United's commercial director, to reporters in London on Tuesday. "It's important to the club, not only for commercial partnerships: It gives us a road map to understand exactly what's going on."

Manchester United tremendous worldwide support will certainly benefit GM’s expansion overseas. Manchester United’s huge Asian following must have also factored into GM’s decision as well. Although GM makes more money in America, it sells more units in China than anywhere else in the world. GM currently outsells its US rivals in the Asian market, but Ford has taken a more aggressive approach lately, including a recent $1.3 billion investment in Chinese factories.

Last year, Chevrolet sold a record 4.76 million vehicles worldwide, led by the immense popularity of its Cruze compact sedan. Despite huge global sales, GM has yet to establish a notable stake in the European market. The company presently has a 1.5 percent European market share, according to ACEA.

Earlier this month, GM reported a first-quarter profit of $1 billion, which was down over $1.6 billion compared to a year ago. Specifically, weak European numbers hurt GM’s sales figures greatly. In fact, GM Europe lost $256 million, marking its 12th consecutive year of losses.

Stay tuned to see Manchester United's European favor translates into increased auto sales for the automaker.

Source: Bloomberg News

Also read: GM says it won't run ads during the 2013 Super Bowl