Adidas hedges its bets on continued growth of US soccer with lucrative MLS deal

The renewal to the partnership is reportedly worth around $700m

Adidas has renewed its apparel deal with Major League Soccer (MLS) in what is the largest commercial partnership in the league’s history.

The new six-year agreement will span the 2018-2024 seasons and is reportedly worth around $700m, representing a significant increase on the previous eight-year deal valued at $25m a year.

In addition to supplying kits for all 22 clubs in the league, Adidas will also provide footwear and training gear to each of the teams and will remain the official supplier of apparel to MLS youth academies, development leagues and youth-affiliated clubs.

Adidas North America president, Mark King, said: “Sport is the epicentre of our culture and in the US and Canada soccer is the most popular sport for young people to play.

“Our partnership with MLS puts Adidas at the core of sport in North America, allowing us to make a positive difference in an athlete’s game and life. Built from athlete and consumer insight, we are looking to create the future of sport and bring new and different things to the game the world has never seen before.”

MLS commissioner, Don Garber, added: “Major League Soccer has built a legacy with Adidas that has been essential in the rise of our league. Adidas has been a major collaborator with us since the inception of MLS, and we are proud that our partnership with this globally-respected brand will continue to enhance the growth of the game in North America for many more years.

"We will work with Adidas on innovative concepts to showcase the sport and our elite athletes, and we will intensify our mission to develop top North American soccer players for generations to come.”

Under the terms of the agreement the MLS will create a localised content approach for Adidas using the new Adidas ‘Creator’s Network’ which will provide in-depth storytelling through local and national content from league supporters and influencers.

The extension to the partnership, which began in 2004 when Adidas became the exclusive partner of the MLS, signals a strong commitment from the brand to stick with the growth of the sport in the US.

The new deal is Adidas’ largest-ever investment in North American soccer and comes at a time when the MLS is enjoying strong growth in TV ratings, attendance and merchandise sales, as well as growing interest among prospective franchise owners.

Plans to expand the league from the current 22 teams are already in place with Los Angeles FC scheduled to join MLS in 2018, closely followed by David Beckham’s Miami outfit. The league plans to announce its 25th and 26th franchises, which will be selected from 12 prospective ownership groups, by the end of this year.

Tony Connelly

I cover media, marketing and sponsorship news within the sports industry. This includes breaking news as well as writing feature pieces with insights from experts in the sports marketing world.

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