MLS Sponsorships: Mid-Summer Update

It has been a while since we posted our most recent update of MLS sponsorships.  We thought it would be worth revisiting the status of corporate MLS sponsors. Companies such as Dick’s, Makita, Gatorade and others have been around for a while. VW, Panasonic and Pepsi are also prominent.  In late September of last year, Degree for Men partnered with SUM on a seven figure deal.   AT&T featured prominently at the All Star game and American Airlines has a prominent roll.    Continental Tire was added as a sponsor a couple of months back and features on broadcasts on both FSC and ESPN.  PPL was announced as the stadium sponsor for the new arena in Philly and the Union have announced additional in-house official vendors such as Coke.  However, there has been little movement elsewhere, with no new jersey sponsors announced and no additional presenting sponsors.

The Sports Business Journal reported a couple of months ago that SUM is pursuing several “big” deals for MLS for this season (and Wal Mart did make an appearance on the most recent ESPN2 broadcast), but to date, the most recent new sponsor to join the fold was Travelodge as sponsor of CONCACAF Champions League.  In the interim, SUM has opened three new relationships for its relationships with Mexican Soccer.

Do these lack of sponsorships matter?  Are the Revs, Union, etc… pursuing jersey sponsors?   Are teams looking to renew existing deals? What factors do teams consider? Recall our interview with Tim Martin of Gallagher Sports:

I’m fairly certain that any club without a jersey sponsor is actively pursuing one.  Its far too great of a potential financial resource not to be.  Each club, however, will assign a different value to the front of their shirt, and by value I don’t just mean a certain sum of money, but also cognizance of the brand they are associating themselves with.  This is very relatable to your first question in that it all comes down to the goals and objectives of the club.  It’s possible that these remaining clubs have had offers from multi level marketers, or casinos, or tobacco companies, and simply choose not to go into business with them due to an organizational belief system (I have no first-hand knowledge of any such offers, just using that as an example).

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