The Heartbeat of America

us-soccerThere are few American brands as iconic as Chevrolet.  The GM product has long been associated with baseball, football and the US heartland.  Given that background, soccer seems an unlikely partner for the vehicle that promoted itself by the lyrical stylings of John Cougar Mellancamp.  Yet over the last couple of years, Chevy has aligned itself with some of the biggest soccer properties in the world.

Last year, Chevy aligned (for a measly $500 million plus) with Manchester United, one of the most iconic sporting brands in the world.  The deal put Chevy on the front of the  Man U jersey and  put the brand before millions of Red Devil fans worldwide.  Although the move was controversial (and cost Joel Ewanick his job), there is no question that Chevy grabbed a significant spot on the soccer landscape. “The brand hoped to parlay Manchester United’s fame in China (and its almost 400 million fans over there) into  Automakers sold 19.2 million vehicles in China last year, almost 5 million more than were sold in the U.S. That is expected to reach 30 million annually by the end of the decade. A large portion of those sales were in the largest cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.

Now comes news that Chevy has joined forces with US Soccer making it the official soccer partner of US Soccer.  Per the Detroit News,  Chevy is hoping its sponsorship with U.S. Soccer will help boost the brand in the country as soccer’s popularity here increases. GM said a soccer player lives in 30 percent of households in the U.S. Chevy already has a Youth Soccer sponsorship program that includes nearly 1,000 dealers and 850,000 youngsters across the U.S.” Per the official press release, “Through the Founding Sponsorship of One World Futbol Project, Chevrolet is donating 1.5 million virtually indestructible One World Futbols to youth in war-stricken zones, refugee camps, disaster areas, and underprivileged communities around the world.  The One World Futbol never goes flat and never needs a pump, even when punctured, providing endless play to children who need it most.”

This is big news for soccer in the United States.  Chevy is a bedrock brand in the United States and a recognized part of American sporting life.  An association with Chevy is an association with Americana and an important relationship for soccer in the USA.