Audi Partners with MLS

By | March 7, 2015

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.

4 thoughts on “Audi Partners with MLS

  1. Ross Cameron

    I think the partnership is great!! It’s good for Audi for their exposure, and it’s great for the MLS. All around I think it’s a good decision.

  2. Brian Wolfson

    By partnering with Audi, the MLS has made a great move in that the car maker will bring lots of money into the league, aside from the commercial including MLS highlights, which is sure to potentially attract many fans to the sport. I think both Audi and the MLS are betting on the idea that the fans who watch soccer are also interested in cars, and vice-versa, helping both organizations to grow. Let’s see how this sponsorship plays out in attracting attention to the league. My concern is that Audi is perhaps a brand that might be a bit too expensive for the average American, and if the MLS had chosen a more “popular” brand, perhaps they’d reach a larger audience that’s not necessarily exclusive to a social group.

  3. Carlos Reyes Stoneham

    I think that Audi’s decision to become an MLS sponsor is a pretty good idea. As you mentioned in your post, they’re coming in at just the right time, the MLS is not extremely popular yet, but is gaining national popularity quickly, especially among a good amount of younger, high income people who Audi has very successfully targeted over the last several years. Its also pretty well in line with their other sponsorships as Connie has mentioned. Audi, and VW, its parent company really likes to focus their advertising efforts through soccer and the MLS would fit nicely in that trend.

  4. Connie Cai

    The timing of this deal is definitely noteworthy, given that MLS players were in the midst of creating a new collective bargaining agreement when news of the new Audi sponsorship leaked. The Audi sponsorship deal probably played a role in the weakening of the players’ resolve to hold out for a better CBA, given the influx of cash coming into the league and the players’ fear of striking. Regardless, this deal is definitely valuable for Audi as the MLS surprisingly has the highest percentage of millennial audience of any U.S. sport and viewership is projected to increase as the MLS continues to rapidly grow and expand.

    The MLS automobile sponsorship was previously owned by Volkswagon, and interestingly enough, both Volkswagon and Audi are owned by the Volkswagon Auto Group. By switching the sponsorship deal over to Audi, MLS is clearly trying to attract a higher income audience and project the image that soccer is a “gentleman’s sport.” Furthermore, Audi currently has long-standing sponsorships with many European football clubs, including FC Bayern Munich, FC Barcelona, and Chelsea FC. Hopefully, the marketing knowledge and experience that accompanies these sponsorships is transferred to the United States and MLS, which will only continue to elevate the status of MLS and soccer in the United States.


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