While soccer’s World Cup in Qatar currently has the attention of the world, savvy marketers aren’t sleeping on Major League Soccer, the U.S.-based league that has seen clubs, fans and advertising partnerships soar in recent years.
MLS’s momentum “seems unstoppable,” said Bob Lynch, founder and CEO of the sports software platform SponsorUnited, citing a young and diverse audience that’s increased attendance at games by 67% since 2012. MLS clubs lured some $461 million in sponsorship revenue this season, while the leauge counts more than 1,750 brand partnership deals with the league, clubs and players.
The MLS is also benefiting from more high-profile owners and players, including several current players and alumni on the roster of the U.S. Men’s National Team that advanced to the knockout round of the World Cup with a stirring 1-0 victory over Iran on Tuesday.
The number of league advertising partnerships has increased by 500 in the last four years, according to a report issued this week by SponsorUnited.