This weekend, MLS, as well as U.S. Soccer, and the Coca-Cola Company announced a new sponsorship agreement that will last four years. This new agreement will allow Coca-Cola to use MLS and U.S. soccer player appearances at hospitality events, gives the company the right to use MLS and U.S. soccer marks in its original media content, as well as in-stadium signage.
This deal marks the end of the original agreement between MLS and PepsiCo Inc. that lasted from the birth of the league in 1996 to December of last year. PepsiCo. recently announced a monster deal with the NBA, ending a partnership that Coca-Cola held since 1986.
The Coca-Cola Company is the largest beverage company in the world with over 500 brands under its portfolio. The company has 20 brands that make over $1 billion annually in retail sales and a reputation as one of the most recognized brands in the world. According to MLSSoccer.com, this agreement will make Coca-Cola the official beverage partner in the carbonated and water beverage categories of MLS and the official non-alcoholic beverage of U.S. Soccer. Coca-Cola is already a regular sponsor of the World Cup, and has been working with FIFA since 1974, giving the company plenty of experience in terms of sponsoring soccer events. Here is an example from Coca-Cola’s powerful “One World, One Game” ad campaign during last year’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil that promoted inclusiveness.
This agreement serves as another example of how Major League Soccer’s growing popularity is enticing greater investment by large companies. Combined with the league’s agreements with Mondelez, Johnson & Johnson, and Audi, MLS is quickly building an impressive portfolio of corporate sponsors. Coca-Cola clearly sees how it can reach its target market of millennials through partnering with the league and how it can attract the rising Latino population in the United States through greater exposure by way of soccer entities.