On Friday morning, MLS announced that German luxury automobile manufacturer Audi had signed a multi-year deal to be the automotive sponsor of Major League Soccer. Audi will be replacing Volkswagen, who was the automotive sponsor of the league for the past seven years. As part of the deal, Audi will be the main sponsor of the MLS Playoffs. Also during nationally televised matches billboards will be placed on the field, and Audi will be able to create commercials using up to 30 MLS stars. This goes in effect starting in the 2015 MLS Season opener in Los Angeles tonight when the LA Galaxy take on the Chicago Fire at 10 pm EST on Unimas.
This information came about during the CBA negotiations and likely was a major contributing factor for how the deal went. The deal has been said to be the largest in American soccer history, starting with $3 million this year and $2 million each year after.
Audi has been embracing the beautiful game by partnering with MLS, but also displaying a large billboard to stream the 2014 FIFA World Cup scores.
Needless to say, MLS and Audi are both excited about the deal, as President and Managing Director of MLS Buisness Ventures, Gary Stevenson said that, "We (MLS) are excited to welcome to the MLS family. Audi is an elite brand that is committed to helping the sport of soccer grow in North America and we look forward to partnering with them for many years to come." Likewise, Audi's Director of Marketing, Loren Angelo, said that "Audi's partnership with MLS parallels the aggressive, challenger spirit of the two brands. Audi remains committed to soccer and raising the profile of the game in the Unites States. Last year the league's attendance hit an all time high. As a major supporter of the sport globally, we're looking forward to cultivating the enthusiasm of soccer stateside and driving participation of the sport in a new way." It will be interesting to see what Audi's effect on the upcoming season will be and if they can deliver on their goal to help the beautiful game reach a higher profile in America.