Manchester United is reported to be continuing talks with possible shirt sponsors as doubts emerge over the future of the existing agreement with American car manufacturer Chevrolet.
The pair’s deal expires at the end of the 2020-21 season and a report in The Times indicates that the English Premier League side has been in the process of identifying a replacement, with Chevrolet unhappy at the on-pitch performance of the club throughout its sponsorship.
It has also been claimed that parent company General Motors believes it may have overpaid for the rights deal worth £450m (€508.5m/$562.2m) over seven seasons. Joel Ewanick, the global marketing chief at General Motors, left the organisation soon after negotiating the agreement.
The Times also cites sources insisting that several leading brands have displayed an interest in replacing Chevrolet, with the club retaining confidence in its global reach.
This comes despite a disappointing on-pitch performance for the 20-time English champions in recent years. Since the departure of Alex Ferguson in 2013, United have failed to win the English Premier League and have failed to qualify for the Uefa Champions League in three of the last six seasons.
Misha Sher, worldwide vice-president of MediaCom Sport & Entertainment, aligned with the viewpoint that the club’s commercial value remains strong. He said today (Friday): ‘’Many will argue that Manchester United’s recent form may impact on their ability to replace Chevrolet but I would disagree. What they have done well is to build a brand that is in many ways, although not entirely, immune to on-field performances, which helps to explain that they posted record commercial revenues last year.
‘’Companies will still look at Manchester United and recognise the enormous value in their appeal with hundreds of millions of fans globally. They are now reaping the benefits of being one of the first clubs who leveraged this model; while others have followed suit, they have a significant head start.’’