(from Sports Business Journal, April 15, 2013) As completed last week, AT&T has signed a multiyear renewal of its sponsorship of MLS, U.S. Soccer, and the Mexican Soccer Federation. Valued by an industry source at eight figures annually, the deal was completed with Soccer United Marketing, MLS’s commercial arm. “AT&T is a significant partner for us,” said David Wright, Senior Vice President of Global Sponsorship for MLS and SUM. Wright declined to comment on the financial details of the deal but said, “The fact that they are back in a big, big way is incredible news.” According to source, in comparison with the prior deal which expired at the end of 2012 the annual value of the renewal is even higher.
The renewal of the deal will retain AT&T as the title sponsor of the annual MLS All-Star Game. Since first partnering with MLS and U.S. Soccer in 2009, the company has held this title. This year’s All-Star Game will be played on July 31 in Kansas City. AT&T will also continue as title sponsor of voting platforms for the league’s goals of the week, month, and year. New for this year under the renewal, AT&T will also be title sponsorship of MLS’s Rookie of the Year award. In what is expected to be the biggest match of 2013, AT&T will be the presenting sponsor when the U.S. men’s national team plays a World Cup qualifier against Mexico on September 10, in Columbus.
AT&T is benefiting greatly from partnering with the MLS for many reasons. “The engagement from our promotions has been very strong. It’s a multicultural fan base and really hit the 18-34 demographic. We also love that MLS is tech-savvy and so are their fans,” said Greg Skasko, Director of Sponsorships for AT&T. AT&T has also sponsored the Mexican soccer Federation since 2005 and will be the title sponsor of Futbol Fiesta which is a fan zone at the Mexican national team matches that includes product demonstrations and fan interaction. Along with being the title sponsor, other deal points with the Federation include sweepstakes promotions and in-store player appearances.