CONFIRMATION, if any were needed, that football is a global business came in the news that a shirt sponsorship deal has cost a Detroit marketing man his job.
That the shirt being sponsored will be worn by Manchester United and the marketing man the Chief Marketing Officer of General Motors makes this news that is exciting America’s business press.
Joel Ewanick was ultimately in charge of GM’s $4.5bn global annual advertising budget and decided to punt $600m on a seven-year deal to replace Aon from 2014-15, of which around £28m a year will go to the club.
He left GM just two days before the car giant, which has a factory in Ellesmere Port, announced its new deal with Manchester United. It is also Liverpool FC’s car sponsor, a four-year deal announced last week.
According to GM, Ewanick “failed to meet the expectations the company has of its employees”, although his exact error isn’t clear.
Perhaps it is simply that having gained plenty of publicity for pulling advertising from Facebook and rebuffing the 2013 Superbowl on grounds of cost and value, he chose to spend the GDP of Samoa on sponsoring a soccer club.
To an American, that really is the action of a Mad Man.