Sports Business Daily is reporting that MLS has sued tool manufacturer Black & Decker over an alleged “ambush marketing campaign” by B&D division DeWalt. MLS fans know that competing tool company Makita is a long time MLS sponsor, and the suit alleges that DeWalt improperly used MLS logs and materials to “confuse” hispanic fans into believing that DeWalt is a sponsor of the League. We will pull the relevant information on the suit in the coming days from the Court website, but proving damages in such a claim could open up some privately held MLS business information to public scrutiny. In order to prove they were damaged by the ad campagin, terms of MLS sponsorships will likely need to be revealed. Because MLS holds this information so tightly, the discovery process in this suit could provide new access to MLS revenue and advertising information.
Makita first signed a three year deal with MLS (reportedly in the mid-seven figures), in October 2004. The deal was Makita’s first sports sponsorship and was designed to target hispanic audiences.
At a recent Metro Sports Commission Meeting, Chair Paul Thatcher suggested that the Vikings are interested in bringing an MLS team to the Twin Cities. Unfortunately, the article doesn’t offer much more detail than that. Minnesota has never been a top contender for an MLS team, despite a successful run at the lower rungs of American soccer. Stadiums are being built in the State, but it seems unlikely that MLS will find its way to Minnesota in the near term.