Manchester United: From AIG to Chevrolet Killer Cars

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 10/18/2014 01:30:00 AM
Chevrolet is "Like a Rock"? Man U makes itself into a global punch line (again).
 When I contemplate the largest follies of sports sponsorship, one name immediately comes to mind, "Manchester United." It takes the cake by some margin even if the competition has become more intense. I have written at some length about the dastardly activities of the Ameriscum Glazer clan which saddled this once-solvent sports team with boatloads of debt after they bought it via leveraged buy out (LBO). They say that misery loves company, and one of the "benefits" the Glazers have brought to Manchester United are American shirt sponsors of the equally dodgy sort.

In a world infested by hellishly daft shirt sponsors, Manchester United took the cake by having fellow American--let me repeat that for emphasis--American Insurance Group (AIG) as shirt sponsor when it imploded spectacularly because of its nefarious activities involving the sale of credit default swaps (CDS) as the US subprime crisis went into full swing. As defaults on subprime real estate-linked assets AIG's London subsidiary sold protection on collapsed, it took down the US mothership. So, the football team was made into a laughingstock as they could not remove AIG from its kit since the deal to sponsor AIG was still in place despite the firm collapsing.

He was smart enough to leave Man U to save the embarrassment of wearing this shirt.
Fast-forward a couple of years later and Manchester United's owners decided to take on another Yanqui laughingstock. In the years between they took AON, a respectable political risk insurer. Not having learned their lesson from the AIG, however, they subsequently took on the General Motors brand Chevrolet. When it comes to corporate social responsibility (CSR), what's worse? AIG underwent the largest government bailout in US government history, wasting colossal amounts of taxpayer money. Meanwhile, the newswires are now plastered with stories about various lawsuits against GM amounting to billions for customer injuries and fatalities. So, Manchester United's penchant for bad press has indeed moved on--from corporate collapse over dodgy dealings to, well, killing the customer:
At least 27 people have died and 25 people have been seriously injured in crashes involving General Motors cars with defective ignition switches. Attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who was hired by GM to compensate victims, updated the totals Monday. Feinberg says he has received 178 death claims since August. Of those, 27 have been deemed eligible for compensation payments. 
Twenty-five of the 1,193 injury claimants have also received compensation offers.
GM knew about faulty ignition switches in Chevrolet Cobalts and other small cars for more than a decade but didn't recall them until February of this year. The switches can slip out of the "on" position, which causes the cars to stall, knocks out power steering and turns off the air bags. Feinberg will accept claims until Dec. 31.
Tragic as it may be, you can't make this stuff up. If you need some ugly Americans, I've got some of the ugliest for you right here as they all flock to a British football team for some strange reason.