adidas and MLS: New Partnership until 2018

Hi all,
According to the Sports Business Journal, adidas and MLS agreed on extending their partnership until 2018. A new sponsorship deal worth $200 million. Thereby, adidas strengthen its position of  official sponsor and gear supplier of the MLS for the 8 years to come.

The MLS and adidas signed their 1st partnership in 1996. Today, adidas and Major League Soccer agreed on an extension to the original extension signed in 2004. This deal, that was meant to run out by the end of 2014, made adidas the official and exclusive athletic sponsor and product supplier for the Major League Soccer.  Today, the 3-stripes and the MLS extended the deal to run until 2018.

Both parties were very satisfied with the deal as Patrick Nilsson (President of adidas America) said: “Both of us are feeling really good about the partnership we have had since the start of the MLS and the first deal that we did. … We both felt this was the time to talk this deal out for a longer time frame and for spending the money on the youth development of the game in the U.S”.

From the MLS point of view Don Garber (MLS Commissioner) was thrilled with the agreement as he said: “One of the major reasons Major League Soccer has become one of the top soccer leagues in the world is due to the support and commitment of adidas. They have a clear vision for the sport in North America, and they see MLS as a cornerstone of that vision. Our extension with adidas is a major statement by an internationally respected brand that MLS is increasing in value and that our commitments to stadium construction, strategic expansion, player development and improvement in the overall quality of play are playing dividends.”

There is no disclosure thus far on how the investment is determined, however there will be a strong focus on youth development, grassroots and the football academies. Don Garber said: “The goal will be to make a very direct link between our academies, our reserve league, our youth programs with a lot of the other youth programs going on in this country, adidas can play a very important role in creating that bridge and solidifying all those ties.”

For those familiar with My Football Lounge articles, I mentioned a couple of times that the MLS is positioning the league very smartly and efficiently. Not only numbers do show that American football viewers increased during the World Cup 2010, but the league also attracts football stars which gives it more credibility and global focus.

No doubt that this deal is a milestone for the MLS (and adidas) to strengthen the football appeal in the United States, and increase their chances to host the World Cup in 2018 or 2022.

Karl Lusbec


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17 thoughts on “adidas and MLS: New Partnership until 2018

  1. I tend to disagree that MLS attracts the football stars. At the moment the league only functions for the former European top players as an extension of their career before retirement. It’s good to hear that this league is run efficiently, however it hasn’t reached the level of the game to be attractive enough for the viewer outside the USA.

    There is plenty of potential for the future, but it won’t happen until the point when the league will become ,,good enough” for the players in their best years and this will attract the viewers from different TV markets, until that point the league is limited by the US market with strong preference of the top four sports and their leagues respectively (NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB).

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    1. I agree.

      So far the famous DP players are about to end their career. When “young guns,” rising stars from the EPL, La Liga and the Serie A begin to sign up for the MLS then …..

      Take for instance, footballers who couldn’t succeed in the Serie A. They left for La Liga, or Bundesliga like Tiago, and Maniche.

      So far the MLS hasn’t attracted a well-known goalkeeper in his prime. Portugal’s Eduardo went to the Serie A, and other goalkeepers are linked to the EPL.

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  2. Hello Lukas,
    I see your point. However, I believe that with Thierry Henry & Rafa Marquez in the MLS, it is a starting point. Don’t forget that the MLS is a very young league with a great potential, and in the long run, it could be a serious alternative to the traditional european leagues for young upcoming players.
    The football market in the US has a potential not only to attract good players, but to “build” them through competitive football schools, and this is what Don Garber was emphasising on.

    Obviously time will tell, but so far all the right ingredients are present to a powerful outcome.

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  3. Hi Monica,
    You are right. So far, the MLS is not attracting”young guns” (yet) . However, if we consider the progress from the last 15 years until now, I think it’s one of the league which has progressed and evolved the most.
    Yet, the MLS is obviously not on the same level (football wise) as the major european leagues, but by carrying on the way Don Garber and his team (including SUM Marketing) are doing, I do believe that in less than 10 years we shall notice upcoming stars naturally hesitating between Chivas, LA Galaxy and…..Inter Milan.
    Let’s hope my blog is still on in 10 years from now 🙂

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  4. Very suprised this has been agreed, especially after only last week the Supreme Court Ruled that the NFL is not a single entity and as such should not limit who teams can sign deals with (http://www.antitrustlawblog.com/2010/08/articles/article/supreme-court-rejects-single-entity-treatment-for-the-national-football-leagues-licensing-activities/)

    I still think the league will take a while to be classed as a legitimate legaue, however as mentioned it is slowly building itself up and attracting decent players. I’m quite sure Angel and Henry would do a job upfront in the PL. However I don’t think it will ever be big enough to challenge the EPL, La Liga & Serie A it may give good competition to the secon tier leagues

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  5. Hi Stephen,
    Thanks for sharing the Supreme Court link on the NFL. The MLS is set up as a single entity, with the league controlling player movement and the owners sharing equally in the league’s profit. Ironically, in a free market economy country like the US, this business model worked.

    The reason why I believe the MLS will be a serious challenger to the european leagues in the years to come, is 1) the exponential marketing growth of the MLS, and the development margin it still has. 2) the european leagues are under a strong scrutiny from the UEFA Financial Fair Play, and clubs shall not be wasteful as they used to be. Hence the leagues will compete in the same arena and the MLS could have its word to say.

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