This week, Audi announced its decision to partner with the MLS. In this weekend’s article on the decision Forbes magazine predicts that this is an early sign of a trend in which sponsors will start shifting from the MLB to the MLS. Audi will be creating a commercial including MLS highlights. In exchange for their sponsorship, Audi will get field-level advertisements on nationally advertised games. The question is whether or not these field-level advertisements will make Audi as much money as an equivalent sponsorship for the MLB? At this point, it seems like a wise investment. Over the last 20 years, MLS popularity has been on the rise, peaking in this past season. This would imply that Audi is offering their sponsorship at just the right time.
Moreover, Audi can be sure they’ll get the viewership they’re hoping for. That’s because MLS has also recently signed deals with ESPN and Fox Sports. Univision will be showing a game of the week every Friday, and ESPN2 and Fox Sports 1 will be offering two soccer matches every Sunday. This exposure means Audi should be almost guaranteed to get their money’s worth.
As we heard in class a few weeks ago, MLS is expanding to pair men’s teams with women’s teams. We heard from Cindy Parlow that those agreements between the men’s and women’s programs are the best chance for the success of a women’s league in the US. Forbes did not elaborate on whether or not any of this sponsorship will go to the women’s league. However, any increase in popularity for the men’s league will certainly be beneficial for the women.